Rating: PG-13 ish?
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, BBC owns it all.
Beta: Huge thanks to Bonnie for beta reading, and to queenofthecastle for listening to me ramble!
AN: So, I didn't realize that I hadn't uploaded this here months ago *guilt* Really, the best place to keep track of my stories is at my livejournal, corufic. Half the time I forget to upload them on other sites...
Tardisode 5: Bright are the Stars
One of the many misconceptions that visitors to the TARDIS seemed to share regarding travel within her was that all, or even the majority of, the Doctor's time was spent defying death and otherwise irritating malicious aliens throughout the cosmos. It simply was not true.
The Doctor had a tendency to find trouble; that was a truth accepted by all who knew him, but he was also prone to damaging his ship on these adventures. Some of the repairs required his involvement, but all-too-often it was simply a case of settling into the Vortex and allowing the ship to heal.
Those long, rather dull, days often led to extraordinarily normal ways of passing the time. For example: catching up on a particularly complicated late sixty-third century Jovian soap opera. The sixty-third century, as the Doctor informed Rose quite seriously, was famed for its technological advances in entertainment media. Meaning that any room of proper size and dimension could be easily masked, making it appear that one was, quite literally, in the film. Despite being holographic projections, the actors looked as solid as the Doctor on the sofa beside her, and the storyline was quite relatable.
It reminded her a bit of EastEnders actually, if the residents of London had all happened to resemble Hollywood movie stars with Technicolor skin. One of them, she would have sworn under oath, was a very young Nicole Kidman dipped in pale blue paint. She was not entirely sure what to think when she learned that Nicole Kidman was in fact a much older Krissint Namar who simply wore extremely thick powder.
Apparently, half of Australia was populated by displaced Jovians due to some sort of hiccup in the fabric of space and time. The Doctor refused to elaborate, which Rose accepted to mean it was probably his fault, and dropped the subject. She was tempted to ask about Hugh Jackman, but decided it would be a bit tactless.
It was entirely too easy to forget where she was, particularly after the program ended and she quite firmly searched his video library for Pride and Prejudice – the miniseries of course, no one else would ever quite compare to Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.
"An' if you tell me he's from Mars, I'll slap you," she informed him, mid-way through the first episode.
He shrugged; a faint grunt the only verbal answer he seemed prepared to give. She stilled her movements and heard a faint sound of protest as she shifted on the edge of the sofa. She rolled her eyes and glanced down at the head pillowed in her lap.
"You realize I'm not gonna do this indefinitely?" she asked, returning her fingers to massaging his scalp.
The grunt of acknowledgement was much happier this time around.
Rose could not help herself; she had a positively silly grin on her face as her fingers worked through his close-cropped hair. She couldn't quite understand herself, but it was…nice. She was so used to the Doctor taking care of her, being able to return the favour, even if only in something as silly as a head massage, made her feel wonderful.
She had never been happier to remember her summer days at Shareen's, when her mum had been studying to become a masseuse and used them to quiz herself on pressure points, and how to feel out and soothe tension in a person's muscles. Rose had half expected the Doctor to have completely opposite reactions to everything she did – but he seemed happy, and she was more pleased than she could properly understand.
A faint rumbling caught her attention, and her grin widened gleefully. "Doctor," she whispered. He hummed in response. "Are you purrin'?"
The sound stopped, and she had to fight back embarrassment. "No," he replied shortly. "It's just…"
"Purrin'?" Rose supplied, beginning to work at a knot at the base of his neck. The rumbling resumed and she felt inordinately pleased.
"Time Lords don't purr," the Doctor said, a bit of a hum in his voice. "Just…vibrate a little."
"Think that's called purrin'," Rose said again, grinning. She felt a wave of loving exasperation wash over her – and with a rather sharp gasp, pulled her hands away from the Doctor's head; the feelings vanished the instant her skin left his, and she gasped again.
He sat up slowly, not meeting her eyes. "I'm sorry," he said, voice low. "Shouldn't've – didn't mean to."
"What just happened?" Rose whispered. "That was you, yeah?"
"Yes." He was still not quite looking at her. "Told you once before; telepathic, me."
"So, what, I can feel what you do?" She frowned, brow furrowed. "That doesn't make sense, why just now?"
"Let me guard down," he replied, glaring at the arm of the sofa. "A stupid, childish thing to do – won't happen again."
"Wait," she leaned forward and reached for his hand. "So, it's somethin' you're trained out of, lettin' people in?"
He shrugged awkwardly, and Rose was struck, as she often was, by how much more vulnerable he looked sans leather jacket. A simple wool jumper didn't provide the same protection against the elements – or against her, for that matter. His fingers curled around hers, almost instinctively. "'S like psychic bed-wettin'," he said finally. "Somethin' you do as a kid, drippin' your emotions all over the unwillin'. Not somethin' that's done as an adult"
"So…I just made you wet the bed?" Rose raised an eyebrow.
"No." He stood up and grabbed his jacket, pulling the comforting weight and warmth over his shoulders. "It's just…it won't happen again, can you not just let it go?"
"No!" Rose said, her eyes following him as he began to pace. "'Cause if it's gettin' inside my head I've got a right to know!" She folded her arms and watched him warily; he visibly sagged under the weight of her words. "So, what is it then, gettin' head massages makes you purr your guard down? An' what if someone was rubbin' your head for evil?"
"It's nothin' to do with the massage," he ground out. "An' I was NOT purrin'!"
"Then what is it to do with, Doctor?" she asked, her voice suddenly quiet.
He looked hard at her. "It's you."
She frowned. "Me?"
"Yes, you, Rose Marion Tyler," he let out a frustrated breath and visibly caved, turning himself once again into the role of educator. "My people, back when they did this sort of thing on a regular basis…they shared emotions."
"'This sort of thing'?" Rose pursed her lips. "How d'you mean?"
A muscle in his cheek twitched, the only indication of his nerves. "'S a bondin' process, sharin' empathically an' all that rubbish."
"Bonding?" She chewed on her bottom lip, and for just a moment the Doctor's eyes drifted. She didn't notice. "So…it's because of the snoggin'?"
"No!" His eyes shot back to hers as he barked his reply. "That's as much a symptom as the other." He clenched his fingers and fidgeted. "I'm not sayin' it right."
"No," Rose agreed, confusion written across her face.
He sighed, aggravation leaking into his voice. "Right. Startin' again. Bit of a story." He met her eyes and she nodded encouragingly. "They didn't exactly approve of attachment on my planet. Meant to be the Great Observers, us. Thought it was best to stay out of the way, keep out emotions – even toward each other. Expected us to see everything an' everyone with scientific eyes."
She looked away, and her thumb drifted to the edge of her mouth; she chewed the nail absently. "It…sounds awful," she admitted. "Cold."
"Oh, right frigid lot, the Time Lords." The Doctor nodded, almost managing to mask the sheer hurt in his voice. "Spent half my life being banished for somethin' or other. But that was later. Used to be not too far off the way you humans live, if you'd all had a few million years evolvin' just your brains alone, mind. Didn't have marriage, not the way you'd know it, but they had," this the TARDIS did not translate, a few deep syllables that sounded rather like Russian being spoken in a heavy French accent.
Rose held up a hand. "Right, didn't catch that – what was it?"
He repeated the word and glanced at her. "It was a…meetin' of the minds." He began to pace around the room. "Nice, long sort of process – didn't realize I'd even…well." He sighed and finally just said it. "It's like a bond, connectin' a Time Lord an' his – or her – er, plus one."
"So, that happened with us?" Rose asked, still worrying the edge of the thumb absently. "But I'm not psychic."
"Don't need to be, I'm psychic enough for both of us." He gave her a small grin before his expression settled into something more dour. "Can undo it, you know. Not permanent yet."
He leaned against the back of a tall wing-backed chair and folded his arms. "Yet," he repeated. "Can't undo a proper one. Took 'until death' a bit literally, my people."
"Oh." Rose thought back to the rush of his feelings and bit her lip. "Does it work the other way too?"
He opened his eyes and glanced at her, clearly not quite following.
"This link, can you feel me, like I felt you?"
Some unnamed emotion flashed across his countenance before his mask regained purchase. "Yes," he said simply.
Rose held out her hand and waited until he came near. He met her eyes warily, but took the hand and allowed her to pull him back to the sofa. She focused on her own emotions, amusement, affection, worry, and those deeper, visceral and unnamed feelings that lay unspoken between. She let them well up inside her and just…pushed. The ensuing reply of his emotions flooded through her a moment later and she gasped at the sheer force of it.
"Rose." There was something tortured in his voice. "You shouldn't- you can't-"
She shifted toward him, keeping her contact with him. "I really think I should," she corrected, turning slowly and gently sliding a leg over his until she sat, straddling his knees and staring into the intense blue eyes that even she rarely dared to meet directly. "An' I know I can." She moved closer still, hoping desperately that he would not see through her false bravado and push her finally, inexorably, away from this. Her lips touched his.
He was not kissing her lips. Well, no, he was. His lips were on hers, but also on her neck, her shoulder, her – she shuddered and deepened the kiss, all hesitance vanishing at the wash of electric sensation that swept over every nerve in her body. His fingers tangled in her hair, pulling her close – 'not close enough,' she thought – and he groaned as hers found purchase in his close-cropped mane.
He pulled away slowly, sighing into the scant inches between them. "Rose Tyler," he said, sounding…exasperated, amused…happy.
She did not let him move far; her arms tightened about his neck. "Doctor," she replied in kind.
"Why've you always got to make things hard?" He asked, resting his forehead against hers. She shrugged, and then squirmed slightly in his lap. She froze. She blinked. She moved again…and a sudden, wicked grin crept across her face.
"Feels like you're doin' a fine job of that yourself here, Doctor," she replied, her tongue peeking through the corner of her smile and a giggle in her voice.
"Humans – always got your minds on just one thing," the Doctor complained, his voice tight and hitching despite the flippant words.
"An' it never even crosses yours, I s'pose?" Rose wriggled again and the Doctor pulled in a sharp breath. "Guess you're thinkin' about fixin' the TARDIS right now, yeah?"
"Exactly," he agreed, his tone carefully modulated. A moment later his hands were on her hips, holding her securely in place and preventing further movement. "Rose."
She stopped. She looked away, staring somewhere in the vicinity of his collar bone. She braced herself to be pushed off and grinned at as they ran for their next adventure, or brushed aside with an insult to her species and their silly expectations.
"It's forever." He brushed her hair behind her ears. "I couldn't – even if you wanted, I wouldn't be able to let you go."
"An' you think I could?" Rose met his eyes squarely. "Doctor, I…I made my choice, a long time ago. It's you, an' I'm never gonna leave you."
As the soon as the words had left her mouth his lips crashed down on hers. The sparking flared across her skin, very nearly turning to pain as his hands returned to her hair. She saw a blinding flash of light as fingers glanced across her temples – and then his hands moved again, gripping her shoulders tightly as she went limp in his arms.
There was something irritating her nose. She wrinkled it, hoping the tickle would go away. It didn't.
She frowned, her eyes screwed tightly shut, as she swiped at it with her free hand. The next time the something brushed across the tip of her nose it was accompanied by a deep chuckle.
Things with deep chuckles were not typically found in her bed. She scowled as she opened her eyes; she was already mightily resenting whatever it was that had woken her. It was a finger. It was a finger that did not belong to her – unless she had developed a lot of very rough calluses and grown quite a bit of hair. She focused her scowl on it, which made her eyes cross a little but she felt it was worth it as the finger withdrew and finally left her poor nose alone. Satisfied, she closed her eyes and snuggled back under her duvet.
Something tickled her nose again, and this time her eyes opened immediately. There was no finger this time – there was another nose. She scowled at it, and her eyes crossed. They slowly uncrossed as she let her scowl follow the nose to the rest of its face – including a very wide grin and blue eyes that were entirely too bright for this time of morning. Whatever time it was.
"Go 'way, Doctor," Rose muttered, pulling the fluffy covers over her shoulders and ducking her apparently quite tempting nose into the fabric.
"Nope," the Doctor replied, cheerfully. She squished her eyes closed and frowned very hard at the underside of her duvet. "You are officially fully rested and healthy, Rose Tyler, so you are comin' out of there." His voice was moving away, and she felt something move near the foot of her bed.
Her eyes reappeared over the edge, watching him warily. His hands – icy cold hands as she knew well – were creeping under her blanket toward her feet. "I will kick you in the face," she informed him quite seriously.
His face lit up; she supposed she had made a very grave error in acknowledging him with a complete sentence. His hands wrapped around her toes and she squealed – loudly – and began kicking out at him.
"Doctor!" she wailed unhappily as she was inexorably pulled from that warm and drowsy place between sleep and awake. She propped herself up on her elbows and glared at him. "What?"
He just grinned again. There were several solid thuds – his shoes being kicked off, she noted irritably – and then he climbed over her until he was staring directly in her eyes. "This," he replied, and kissed her – very chastely, and for just a moment – before leaning back.
"I have mornin' breath!" she blurted out, and then blushed.
"Don't care," he said, and lowered himself to lie beside her in the bed, pulling her close. "Try not to do that again, alright?"
She blinked, and raised an eyebrow as she turned to face him. "Sleep?" she suggested, after he failed to expound.
"Pass out in the media room an' scare me half to death," he corrected, eyes suddenly losing their cheerful spark.
Rose thought about that for a long moment. "Oh," she said finally. A small smile tugged at her lips. "I forgot – did I ruin it? That – that word I can't pronounce, the bondin', did I mess it up?" She looked down and flushed, pulling her duvet up again. "An'…that would explain why I haven't got a top on, would it?"
"Had to cut it off in the medlab. An' no, you didn't mess it up," the Doctor watched her carefully. "It's done. Formin' it knocked you out, but it's there."
She reached out and felt his hand slip into hers – natural, comfortable, and perfect as ever. She rubbed the callus on his thumb and after a pause she was momentarily bombarded with emotional images – his panic when she fainted, the time spent in the medlab as he made sure that her body was still functioning and the increasing worry when it became clear that only her mind had suffered. In the end he had peered through her mind and discovered, to his relief and not a little bit of irritation, that she was simply in a very deep sleep.
He'd had no choice but to simply wait and hope that, when she was rested, she would wake again.
Rose supposed she could forgive him being irritating so early in the morning, when the circumstances were factored in. She grinned. "So," she said, sitting up on her knees, and tucking the duvet around her as a rather fluffy pink toga. "Last time I checked we were about…" she shifted, pushing him back on the bed and once again straddling his legs. "Here."
"Were we?" he asked, eyes wide and innocent. She didn't believe it for moment. She wriggled in place and was rewarded by a low growl – that even seemed to surprise the Doctor.
"Yeah," she squeaked, cleared her throat, and repeated it.
He captured her hand as she reached for his hair, his eyes quite serious again. "Are you sure?"
"Yes," she said, very firmly.
"Last chance to wait," he told her.
"Good, maybe you'll stop askin'," Rose's voice shook a little, but her posture remained sure.
"Yep." He watched her for another long moment before a grin stole over his face. "Fantastic."
And, if anyone ever dared to ask her, she would inform them quite bluntly that yes – it was.