Title: 5 Ways Rose Tyler Nearly Left Him and 1 Way She Did
Genre: Romance, drama
Summary: Title says it all.
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who.
Author's Notes: to JennyLD for the beta.
"I could stay too," Rose whispered to Mickey. She was a few yards in front of him, but the words reached the Doctor easily anyway. She was no longer fighting the tears slipping down her cheeks, as she added, "After Reinette--"
The Doctor stiffened. Reinette. He'd been a fool. A stupid fool who'd been blinded by something shiny and new, when all the while Rose was there, by his side, silently supporting him. Helping him save Reinette's life.
Swallowing back his sharp words of objection to her staying, he waited, letting her make the decision on her own. For now.
"Yeah, but Rose..." Mickey was saying, in a low voice, "teasing aside, that wasn't ever gonna happen." He sighed and moved closer. "We both know that. I mean, it's just you and him, isn't it?" Mickey looked over Rose's shoulder at him. The Doctor stared back, feeling satisfaction run through him. His words were true, so true. And that Mickey recognized that truth made him feel better about the whole Reinette thing.
If Mickey could see past all that, maybe someday Rose would too.
Mickey returned his gaze to Rose. "It's always gonna be just you and him."
The Doctor held his breath, preparing to--but hoping he wouldn't have to--drag a kicking, screaming Rose back to the TARDIS with him, because there was no way in the universe that he was leaving her here with no chance of ever seeing her again.
Rose let out a shuddering breath. "Well, we'll come back. We can travel anywhere. Come and see you, yeah?"
A relieved breath left the Doctor even as he stepped forward to disabuse her of the notion that she'd ever see Mickey again.
"Hold on," the Doctor screamed, but he saw her fingers slipping off the lever, saw her body slipping closer to the innocent-looking wall and the void that waited behind its white surface.
Even before her grip failed, he was making plans, calculating the time, plotting the distance, working out the chances of saving her.
And then she was soaring, almost in slow motion, toward the wall, toward the void, toward death. But, above the wind, above the sucking of the void, above his own screams mingling with Rose's, he heard the most beautiful sound in the universe.
The TARDIS materialized around Rose just a few meters from the wall, and he grinned, laughing as the blue box faded in, and then immediately out again. Pete popped back for a moment, then left again, leaving the Doctor alone with his laughter.
Poor Rose, he thought, she was going to be bruised from her fall in the TARDIS.
But she was alive!
The doctor pushed the TARDIS harder, making it go faster, flying her through space at breakneck speed. The Tali ship was quicker, and it was getting away. If he had the coordinates, knew where they were headed, he could cut them off and-- hang on.
Calculating the distance and speed they were currently traveling at, which seemed to be-- yes, it was. A straight line, headed right for the Calpany system. It'd be a tight spot, but... he grinned, reveling in the challenge before him.
"Rose, prepare to be-- ah. Right."
Numbers flew before his eyes, calculations were made and before three Earth seconds had passed, he had everything he needed and went about setting the coordinates for landing.
He stood for a moment, double-checking his settings, then flipped the last switch. The TARDIS shuddered and tilted, nearly knocking him off balance, but he easily stayed on his feet, resting a hand on the console. And then the rotor stopped, the ship set down with a thud, and everything went quiet.
Dashing to the doors, he stepped out, quickly took in the room, then slid his hands into his pockets. Grinning at Rose, who was on the floor, looking up at him in surprise, teeth pulling at the cloth tied around her wrists, he said, "Someone call for a taxi?"
She gave a muffled shout through the rag stuffed in her mouth, and tried to get to her feet, but they were bound as well. She slipped down and he rushed forward, catching her before she slammed backward into the wall. Scooping her up, he carried her to the TARDIS, kicked the doors shut behind them and set her on the floor.
Almost as an afterthought, he pulled the rag from her mouth.
Feeling a tug on his sleeve, the Doctor tore his attention from the neutron microscope with a sigh. He didn't need to look over to see who it was, there wasn't anyone else on the TARDIS but him and Rose. And she'd been unable to stay silent or leave him alone for longer than five minutes at a time, and even that was a stretch.
"Doctor," she muttered, tugging again. "Doctor." A second passed as he closed his tired eyes and rubbed at them under his glasses. "Doctor. Doctor."
"Yes, Rose." Putting on a smile, he turned toward her, smothering his impatience. It really wasn't her fault.
She shifted under his gaze, biting her lip, and turning her eyes to the floor. Her hands fisted in the hem of her hoodie, as she twisted one foot back and forth, reminding him of Lynda-with-a-Y. An unflattering comparison, he supposed.
"I need-- need to..." her head ducked even lower, "go to the toilet," she whispered.
Taking his glasses off, he rubbed his right eye with his fingers, and fought the urge to tell her to go on then. But he couldn't do that to her.
"Last time I got lost," she told him, finally lifting her gaze back to his. Her eyes were wide, filled with nervous apprehension and awe. "The TARRIS is huge."
There was an urge to chuckle, to just start laughing at the absurdity of the situation, but he managed to bite his tongue and hold back. He didn't think Rose would understand his amusement just now. She'd think he was laughing at her, and he didn't want to give her that impression; she was confused enough already.
Taking her hand, he tossed a glance at the microscope before leading her out of the medical bay and down the hall toward the nearest loo. It'd been tough going for a while; he'd begun to think a cure wasn't possible, but then he had a breakthrough. Toilet breaks aside, he'd have a cure in a few hours, and she'd be back to her old self soon.
Back to using the loo on her own and talking like an adult, and holding her hand wouldn't make him feel wrong and dirty because she'd no longer have the mind of a seven-year-old in a twenty-one-year-old body.
Air in. Chest compressions. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Air in. Chest compressions.
Rose's sightless eyes stared up at the cold, grey sky and the Doctor's hearts stuttered in his chest even as hers stopped. She couldn't die. He wouldn't let her!
She began coughing, trying to draw in a breath. He turned her head to the side, rolling her over to help expel the fluid in her lungs. Her eyes blinked as she curled up into a fetal position and coughed up even more water.
His hand shook as he rubbed it soothingly down her back, breath catching in his throat as he realized just how close he'd come to losing her. The early evening sun shining weakly through overhead branches and the water covering his body helped to hide the tears in his eyes, and the fact that he was shaking harder than she was.
She weakly pushed herself up and he grabbed her, holding her tightly to him, unwilling to let go for a good five minutes.
Dropping her tired arms to her sides, she tried to extricate herself from his embrace, but he didn't let go, just tightened his grip on her. "Doctor?"
Hands smoothing down her back, he breathed in the scent of her, buried there beneath the salt water and smells of nature around them. "You need to get your strength back," he muttered, letting out a shaky sigh.
"So! Ready for Weresol?" Coordinates set, the Doctor turned to Rose, finding her much closer than she'd been just a moment before. Startled, he blinked at her. "Uh..."
Trailing a hand along the edge of the console, she closed the distance even further, smiling wider with each step. Her eyebrows lifted to show she was listening. "Yeah?"
Confused, and a little unnerved, he sniffed and turned back to the console, flipping a switch that started the time rotor pumping. "Weresol. Well, that's really an oxymoron, isn't it?" He paused and thought about it for a second, scratching his chin. "Or is it just a good old fashioned contradiction?"
"Ya know, left up to you, it'd take... five years?" was Rose's confusing answer.
"Sol, sun. Were-- what?" He blinked at her.
Rose was watching him with an odd look that made his skin tingle in a really nice way.
Almost as if she'd heard his thoughts, she chuckled, took a deep breath and stepped right up to him, grabbing his tie and pulling his head down. Her eyes studied his from just centimeters away and then she tilted her head a little to the side and pressed her lips to his.
His own eyes widened and then the feel of her lips on his registered and he hauled her to him, wrapping his arms around her to leave nothing--not even air--between them. He was kissing Rose. Finally kissing her and-- she was right, it probably would've been at least five years before he'd gained the nerve to do this to her.
Oh, she was brave, his Rose.
Smiling against her mouth, he turned her and pressed her against the console, erasing even more of the space between their bodies.
The kiss turned desperate and hungry within moments and suddenly their hands were everywhere. She slid hers under his jacket and tore his shirt from his trousers, scraping nails and fingertips and palms against his flesh. He sucked in a breath and cupped her breasts, fighting with her blouse for more skin than it was willing to show.
Bending her over the console, seeking every bit of her, he pressed his hard body into her softer one.
One of her hands lifted to his neck and tangled in his hair and suddenly the desperation was gone, at least on her side, and he had a moment of panic.
She pulled back, and, breathing heavily, stared at him for a good long while before stating intensely, "I love you."
Before he could return the sentiment, she kissed him again. It was soft, and sweet and everything he'd ever wanted from her, right there in his arms. She occupied his mouth for minutes at a time, unwilling to let him pull free, unwilling to let him raise his head and tell her how much she meant to him.
How she left him breathless.