It's far past her bedtime; despite not using that term in such a long time, it's still something that lingers, a nagging thought at the back of her mind that when it's time for bed, it's time for bed. At times that voice sounds suspiciously like her mother's.
But Rose isn't sleeping tonight. There's something different about this night, but she can't put her finger on it. She needs to be vigilant, she needs to see things. It's akin to that period in her life back when she was a teenager when she would sneak out of bed at dawn, just to watch the sun rise. She feels that same sort of passion just to be alive, and right now she needs the man that every day makes that very thing so damn incredible.
Of course, everything is better with two.
Rose toes on her slippers, pink and fluffy as people would instantly expect of her, and plods quietly into the hall of the TARDIS. It still takes her by surprise sometimes; the difference of her warm, cosy, bedroom against the cold, stone walls and unusual décor of the console room. But it all feels like a part of her, as if it is running through her very blood.
She reaches the Doctor's room within thirty seconds, the route through the maze of corridors well practised by now. There is a note on his door saying DO NOT DISTURB, sloppily sellotaped as if in a rush, and she smirks.
"Yeah, right," she says, and enters.
When she reaches his bed she sits down, and instantly moves her hand through his thick auburn hair, knowing this is something he finds impossible to ignore, whether conscious or not. Sure enough, he groans slightly, but remains very stubbornly asleep. He is lying flat on his stomach, covers awry, his head resting on his hands, which are gripping the pillow. His generic sleeping position, she thinks. Rose gives him a very deliberate poke in his side, a place she is aware he is very ticklish, and grins in triumph as he snorts loudly, and his eyes snap open. A few seconds to gain awareness, and then he regards her with a stern eye.
"Did you read my note, Rose?" His voice is coarse from tiredness.
"Mmhmm." She is halfway across the room, slipping into a pair of her trainers she had left in the room several days before.
"You're going somewhere?" Startled, the Doctor props his head on one elbow. His covers are pushed aside to reveal that he is wearing nothing but a reasonably small pair of boxers. Rose is momentarily distracted as her eyes drift down his lean figure, and for a second she is filled with a longing like a physical form, wanting nothing more than to climb into the Doctor's bed and never leave. She shakes her head to clear her thoughts.
"I want… I think we should go for a walk."
"For a walk?" The Doctor stares at her, sure she is having him on. "But it's - what time is it? Did I oversleep?"
"It's about . . . 4am?" Rose's voice is filled with embarrassed laughter as she scratches her forehead nervously. "I just . . . need this, Doctor. A summer morning walk? Please?"
Five minutes later, they step outside the TARDIS in their dressing gowns. They haven't left London yet, having visited Rose's mum earlier that day. The Doctor gives Rose an odd look, before linking their fingers together firmly. Rose gives his hand a grateful squeeze.
"What's this all about, then?" The Doctor asks gently, as they begin walking in no direction in particular. The sky is an artist's palette of colours, full of vibrant reds and golds and blues. It's gradually getting lighter, the nights very short during the summer months, but it's different somehow. It's strangely like another world; a council estate certainly never looked this breathtaking when the sun was up.
"I love this time of the day," Rose says dreamily, looking around in all different directions.
"Or night, depending on how you look at it," the Doctor adds.
"Yeah. I just felt this urge, y'know?" she suddenly blurts out. "This urge to be with you and walk around and just spend time together. I needed it. Y'know?" she repeats anxiously, wondering if she has said too much.
The Doctor fails to keep the huge affectionate smile off his face. "Yup, I know all about urges. Impulses. Desires…" He pauses. "A bit like this one, you mean?" And suddenly he is twirling her into his arms and kissing her gently yet passionately, without giving her brain time to catch up. She sinks into the embrace, grateful for him holding her up because she isn't sure her legs would be of much use right now. However he doesn't release her after a few moments as is normal for him, and suddenly Rose realises. She pulls away, gasping for breath.
"You feel it too, don't you?" she asks urgently. Her face remains inches from his, their breath bouncing off each other, and it is clear the second the dread enters his features.
"I – I don't –" The Doctor looks around desperately, clearly avoiding her gaze. "I don't know what you mean."
In that second, Rose feels her heart begin to break, though she doesn't know why. Her chest aches so much. She doesn't take her eyes off the Doctor's face, and when he eventually meets her eyes, she gives a sob, unable to help herself. Hot tears start to spill down her cheeks. The Doctor watches her wide-eyed, wretched, and after a few seconds he grabs her roughly into a hug. They've hugged before, but never like this. It's desperate, almost frantic. Rose is squeezing the Doctor so hard that she's afraid he'll snap in two. They're both clinging on for dear life.
They stay this way for a long time afterwards, until the sun begins to properly rise, the sky becomes a pale blue, and Jackie wakes up and looks out of her window to see them walking, hand in hand, back into the TARDIS.
It is only two days later that they walk hand in hand once again, watching a firework display, and the Doctor utters those words.
A storm is approaching.