A/N Okay so I hate that this took me so long but I swore I would finish and I have. I hope those of you who have stuck with me from the beginning are okay with this ending. Thank you for reading! I am endlessly proud of finishing this, even though it took me soooo long. Please enjoy and one final time, please review
Disclaimer: Still own nothing
Chapter 20: Come Back To Me
Rose sat, slumped in a chair once plastic, now transformed into a cushioned armchair; a nudge from the TARDIS whom she was sure disapproved of how she was acting if the extra vibrations and groans coming from above were any indication. She raised a hand and rubbed her eyes, infuriated when they began to draw closed in exhaustion.
She abruptly cleared her throat, the noise giving her the jolt she needed to wake back up and she pushed herself out of the chair, making her way towards the bed three feet away with red eyes that blurred her way. She sat down at the foot of the bed, not daring to touch the figure that lay there, hands shaking and clenching in the effort to keep her emotions under control.
"Rose." She sniffed back her tears as her head shot up to meet the dark eyes of the newcomer. Martha was looking at her with concern and sympathy, standing in the doorway as if waiting for permission to enter. At a small nod of greeting from the distraught blonde Martha stepped into the TARDIS medbay and walked to the Doctors side, reading his vitals off the machine the TARDIS had provided a manual for. His heartbeat filled the room with steady drumming, the singular rhythm disconcerting to those who understood Time Lord physiology, especially when considering it was still slower than a humans.
Rose watched without a word as Martha moved over his prone, unconscious form, a small device in her hand that was spitting out some sort of reading that she proceeded to copy down. The blonde tried to stop the despair from overwhelming her as a full body shiver wracked his otherwise still body, his face tense even in this state yet far more vulnerable than most ever saw.
Finally she swallowed to loosen her throat and spoke. "Is there any change?" Martha looked down at her and planted a smile of reassurance on her face.
"His heartbeat has quickened and his other is trying." She pointed to the beeping machine with readings constantly running across it. "See this? The inconsistencies in it are stutters from his second heart. It's working to restart itself so it's only a matter of time. He's just unconscious Rose, resting and recuperating. Now that we know he's improving, I promise there's nothing to worry about and we both know the Doctor… He won't let anything stop him from coming back to you." She smiled once more and turned to leave the girl alone once more with the remarkable alien they both cared for.
"Martha, could you stick around for a while?" She stopped, shocked. Rose had barely spoken since this whole mess had happened, let alone asked for company. "It's too quiet in here and I know you care about each other, he'll want to come back to you too." Though her voice shook with emotion a tiny hint of a smile leaked its way through for the first time in 32 hours.
Martha sat down in a chair that lay beside the bed and watched as the blonde she used to feel such rivalry with reached across and grasped the Doctors limp hand in her own, squeezing till her own turned white.
They sat in comfortable silence with each other as both thought back on the events that lead them there.
They grinned at each other, seemingly unable to move out of disbelief they were finally together again.
"Long time no see."
She shot an even bigger smile down at him and her voice rattled with laughter as she replied. "Yeah well, been busy you know."
He gave her a giggle back as she lunged forward and wrapped her arms around him as he leant up off the grating and returned the favour, his arms squeezing her waist tight. They somehow ended up standing without ever letting go of each other, legs tangled and not a breath of air between them.
Martha leant against the console, arms crossed and small smile on her face as she watched them. She wondered how long they would stay like that if she let them as even after almost a minute they still hadn't moved away from each other, in fact she thought perhaps their arms were even tighter around each other.
This thought brought another. As romantic and fantastic as the moment was, it was also devastating. She could tell by their grips on each other and how tense they both were how much fear still resided in them both. Not only were they overwhelmingly happy to be with each other again but they were terrified of being torn apart, she shuddered to think about the Doctor if once again they were separated.
Suddenly there was a loud cracking noise from across the TARDIS; the couple separating from each other as the Doctor pushed Rose behind him protectively, seeking out the origin of the noise.
"It's fine," Martha exclaimed quickly. "The GENIE left, guess he figured he had held up his end of the bargain."
It was then the Doctor remembered their company and walked to the console. "Better get the rest of you home then!" He set the coordinates and sent the TARDIS into, for once, smooth flight.
"Oh my god!" Another exclamation came from behind him. "You're Princess Anne!"
He turned back round to see Rose walk up to the woman who beamed back at her. Rose turned her head towards him, eyes shining with laughter. "So we were right then?"
"Spot on actually. In fact, you two could almost be called family now. Try hard enough and you'll sense each other no matter where you are now that you're in the same universe."
Martha watched as a peculiar smile crossed the Doctor's face at Rose's exclamation, as if her phrasing contained an inside joke, the blonde canting her head over her shoulder, eyes glittering and smile widening as her eyes connected with the suited man. Every time they made eye contact, Martha felt as though she were intruding on something extremely private.
With giggles still resounding throughout the TARDIS the ship lurched and spun in a swirl of grating and musical noises, lasting only seconds before abruptly finding ground at what Martha could only assume was the palace once again.
They turned towards the Princess who was looking ruffled on the floor of the TARDIS, having lost her footing. With a heavy sigh of discontent she stood, straightening and flattening her gown before clearing her throat and gazing back at the Doctor. Martha couldn't help but marvel that the man still had a firm grip on his blonde companion's hand, even though they had all been thrown about not two seconds prior.
"So, back now are we? Wonderful. I shall take my leave then. Thank you Doctor." With no further ado, Anne began marching towards the door that led back to Earth.
The Doctor's brow furrowed, having never been dismissed so instantly and without drama before.
"Wait! Wait a minute!" He ran to her, holding out an arm and paying no heed to the fact he had dragged Rose along behind him. He knew she didn't mind, could practically physically feel her amusement at his actions without bothering to turn and see the half smirk he knew would be on her face. "Where do you think you're going all of a sudden?"
"Home Doctor. That is where you have brought us is it not?"
"Yeah I suppose but-"
"But nothing. I'm infinitely glad to have helped but I have a country I must keep track of and if I stay within these walls for long after we've landed, people will begin to wonder where I've gotten off to… Then you'll be in a bit of trouble." She smiled with a glint of mischief in her eyes. "Don't worry, I'm sure we'll see each other again."
The Doctor huffed in disbelief as she left then, being so unused to not only being dismissed but someone who seemed to know something he did not.
There was silence for a few short seconds before Rose finally spoke up.
"Aaaah, Doctor?" They both turned to look at her and saw that her eyes were directed to the other, empty end of the console room. She inclined her head to the corner.
"What is it Rose?" Both women's heads spun in his direction, incredulous looks upon they faces, as if he was a complete idiot. He looked back and forth between them and the emptiness of the TARDIS for a moment before a shock went through him and his eyes widened in realisation.
"Oh, Captain! You impossibly enigmatic man."
Martha grinned while Rose looked slightly confused at his wording.
"Oh Rose, you're never gonna believe this! That old Boe Face shares an identity with an old friend of ours." His tongue stuck out between his teeth and his eyebrows rose in expectation as he waited.
Rose's mouth fell open and transformed into an ear splitting grin, looking over at Martha for confirmation.
"Yep, I was there when he told us."
"You've met Captain Jack then?"
"Oh yeah, he's awfully-"
"I know! And how amazing is that coat?"
"Oi!" The Doctor butted in-between the two girls, playfully agitated.
The two laughed at him before Rose stepped back closer to him, hand running down his arm as she leant up closer to his face, gorgeous smile still upon her lips, his face softening as he watched her.
"Don't worry Doctor, your coat is still my favourite…" She leaned even closer, mouth coming to his ear and whispering. "Among other things."
She turned then and strode away from him, back to the console, Martha laughing in guffaws at the look on his face as she followed Rose and held out her hand for a playful fist bump that Rose gladly returned.
The Doctor stood, stunned for a moment, mouth hanging open and suddenly extremely dry. He made himself quickly snap out of it. He closed his mouth, swallowed unevenly and stepped forward.
"Rose Tyler you-"
And that's where it had all gone wrong. Rose remembered watching as his legs buckled underneath him with no warning, her and Martha running to him, jokes and smiles gone to be replaced with panic and nausea as she once again had to cradle his limp body against her while Martha took his vitals and demanded they get him to the sick bay.
Since then it was there she sat, by his side in the clinically white room, alternately holding his hand, sleeping and watching his face for any sign of movement. All they had witnessed in the 16 hours since the Doctor had lost consciousness was his eyelids flickering and random, full-body shivers.
Rose's breathing hitching in pain at remembering the last time she had seen like this, she was hoping and praying that this would not end up the same way. She definitely hadn't yet seen enough of this face.
Martha was startled out of her restful daze by a sudden noise and movement to her right. She rubbed her eyes and sat up straighter to see Rose tilted forward in her chair, eye wide is realisation though they stayed locked on the Doctor.
"Rose? What is it?"
Martha woke up more fully when she couldn't quite make out the quiet words from the other girl. "What d-"
"Regeneration sickness." Rose spun to her, eyes meeting hers directly and intensely for the first time in quite some time. "Martha, the way the Doctor brought me back, did it have anything to do with his regeneration process?"
The beginnings of a hopeful smile were playing on the youngers lips, which made Martha straighten to full attention, thinking back on the complexities of the Doctor's plan to bring Rose back to him.
"Yes, he used up the energy of a whole regeneration to fuel the GENIE's power, that's what made him so weak in the first place. Why Rose? What does that mean?
"I've seen this before. I just didn't realise because his face is still the same. I was with him once when he regenerated-"
"And he was unconscious for a whole day before he woke up… I never saw how that happened." Martha finished in a whisper, looking up to see Rose staring at her in deep confusion. "It's a long story but I know all about the time you spent with the Doctor. The TARDIS took it upon herself to show me the story so I could understand him better. He was a wreck while you were gone."
Rose simply nodded and accepted this, knowing how he would have acted as she imagined his actions would be the mirror image of her own since they were separated. She would think more about that and how to fix the consequences of their separation later. Right now, she simply wanted to get on with it. "Well he woke up because the tea Mickey brought onto the TARDIS spilled and evaporated and he breathed it in. He babbled about it just after, something about free-radicals and tannins. Maybe if we do the same thing now it will bring him back to us."
Martha grinned and promptly jumping from her place, running quickly to the kitchen and miraculously finding a steaming cup already waiting for her. She looked towards the roof and smiled. "Thanks girl," grabbing the cup and running back to Rose who was now seated up by the Doctor's side on the medical cot.
She walked to the other side and without hesitation tipped the Time Lord's head back, chin down, slowly pouring the tea into his mouth and massaging his Adams apple to initiate the swallowing reflex.
They fretted anxiously by his side, bodies stiff with anticipation, barely even daring to breath into the silence of the endless ship. Ever since he had lost consciousness the atmosphere of the TARDIS seemed to be lacking a certain something, like a vital piece had been misplaced and was causing a sickness or weariness. Slowly but surely, as the seconds dragged on, that feeling dissipated. The light in the room glowed just a fraction brighter and the hum that came from all around them increased in volume but decreased in pitch, a pleasant and excited hum from the unseen third companion who could feel the changes rushing through her Time Lord.
The Doctor's body rose in a lung stretchingly deep breath and Martha and Rose steeped back with matching squeals of surprises when his body shot upright at the hips, hands behind his torso on the bed to support his upper body, eyes wide and intelligent taking in the room around him and obviously calculating how he ended up in such a predicament.
Rose held a hand to her chest while Martha clutched at the pole of a machine that had been connected to the man's chest seconds ago, before being forcibly removed by his jolting body. They both stayed silent and caught their breath, waiting for the man in question to speak.
He looked at them both in turn, eyes fading back to normal and with a sheepish upturn of his lips he spoke.
"Ah yes, thought something like that might happen… Did I forget to warn you?"
Martha's mouth gaped open. He knew… He knew?! She suddenly found herself torn between hugging the life out of him or punching him square in that newly awakened face. Though moments later, Rose made that very decision for her.
Her hope and wonder and slight fear transformed in a second upon her face to incredulity and fierce anger. Her lips pressed together and her jaw clenched, his eyes drew back to hers as she stepped forward and without another thought brought an arm up and slapped him as hard as she could across the face.
His head stayed turned with the slap and there was stunned silence once more before Martha quickly yet involuntarily broke it with an amused snort at the look on the Doctor's face.
He groaned softly and his eyes gained a spark of humour. "Lord, you Tyler women and your slaps." He turned back to Rose, close-mouthed grin back in place. "You'd think I'd know better by now."
Rose huffed and sighed. "You'd think." She shook her head at the ridiculous man one last time before pulling him firmly into an embrace, arms wrapped around his back and shoulders, one hand immediately finding his hair and running through it while he slid to one side of the bed so as to pull her closer.
Though her face was hidden by his neck it took only seconds before it became clear her adrenaline and good humour had left her and tears were now present by the small sniffles that escaped her and the extra edge of desperation her arms around him grew.
Martha walked to the end of the bed, smiling at the Doctor when he met her gaze and nodding, heading out of the room so as to finally give them the moment they deserved and had been waiting on for years.
It broke the Doctor's heart to know how badly he had hurt his beautiful pink and yellow human but he had no words to convey his apology or his joy at having her in his arms once again, this time with no threat or illness looming over them. He had no intention of letting her go this time. His fight against all that he felt for this girl was over and he wanted nothing more than to stay in that position forevermore. He was content to wait till she decided something needed to change. And by Rassilon, when she moved out of his embrace, he would make sure things changed… In the best way possible. He shed a single tear and then let his thoughts come to a halt, holding her until the tears stopped.
Finally she pulled slightly away, trying only to get his face back into view, having been away for much too long but was surprised when he pulled her back closer, one hand wrapped around the back of her neck to pull her forward so that their foreheads rested against each other and the other supported her firmly around the waist, fingers tightening every few wonderful seconds. It was then she realised as some point he had risen from his seat and he now stood above her once again, looking down at her with a singular intensity she remembered and missed terribly.
She looked up into his eyes questioningly, asking silently why he had pulled her so close, closer than they'd ever been. She let a startled breath when in his gaze she saw the surrender, the complete openness that she had seen a sheltered version of in the past. But never had she been so very near to him, all of him. Her hands clutched around his neck, fingertips losing themselves in the beginnings of his hair as she pushed herself forward so their lips were barely even a centimetre apart, breathing each other's breaths as tension and heat grew painfully quickly and overwhelmed them both till they stood, struggling to not simply devour each other.
"Really?" She asked, pleading with him to not back away, for him to finally give in and let happen what they both so desperately wanted to happen.
His arms inched tighter around her waist, their bodies coming flush up against each other, only the tips of her toes remaining on the ground as he held her practically suspended in the air, feet and legs entangled from standing so close as he tenderly pushed her hair back behind her ear and nodded, looking as desperate as she felt.
"Oh yes," he whispered on her lips, sending her a tiny smile before their lips connected for the first time and it felt as though electricity passed straight through them and into the ground. Arms tightened to impossible clutches as both of his palms went to her waist and picked her up and spinning to switch their positions, stepping backwards till both her legs hit the cot gently, knees folding and opening as she fell into a sitting position and let him step in-between them to come closer, the Time Lord completely letting go for the first time in centuries.
She gasped as he ground against her, her mind flying in disbelief and arousal as he reached down from her waist to intertwine their fingers against the sheets of the cot, clenching together almost painfully. He groaned into her mouth as their tongues met in fiery battle and she wrapped her legs around his waist and hips, pulling her right hand away only for it to fly into his hair, pulling insistently.
They suddenly wrenched away from each other as a throat clearing came from the doorway.
Martha leaned against the barrier, eyebrow raised and fighting a smirk.
"I see you're feeling better," she stated sarcastically, nodding her head at the Doctor. He said nothing, fighting a rather un-manly blush at being caught in such a compromising and vulnerable position.
Martha's eyes then moved to Rose and she let a soft smile come to her face at the joy radiating out of the younger girl. "I told you. Can survive anything this one."
Rose simply nodded in acknowledgement and thanks, knowing if it hadn't been for Martha and her constant reassurances since the Doctor's collapse that not only would her mental state have been much worse, but the Doctor's recovery might have taken even longer than necessary.
"Now you're up and about and you two are… up and about, I'm going to catch up on my sleep, maybe relax in a bath for an hour or two…" she considered them critically once again. "Or three." With a final smirk she spun on her heels and marched away from the room.
The Doctor's eyes were instantly drawn back to Rose's, the look in her eyes totally unfamiliar and completely addicting.
"So," his voice was low and gravelly as his hands moved up and down the outside of her thighs.
Her smile widened and teeth showed, laying her hands atop his moving arms, grasping the suit and muscles beneath fabric, inching that much closer, her legs never having unwrapped from their place around his waist. "So," she responded cheekily, still breathless and hazy.
His eyelids drooped and he brushed his nose across her cheek and her own nose, lips millimetres from touching, breaths being shared and exchanged.
"There's something I've been meaning to say, but I seem to keep being interrupted." This time she said nothing, softening her smile and momentarily raising her eyebrows in mock question.
"So, Rose Tyler-"
Her left hand suddenly lifted and latched itself to the back of his neck from where it had fallen moments ago, pulling at the small hairs there and bringing his eyes from her lips back into her own gaze, speaking frantically, still half gasping for air.
"Doctor… Shut up."
With one last glimpse of that teasing smile her lips were back on his and they were both falling backwards with the intense hope of not having to leave their perfect ecstasy again anytime soon.
Discussion and confessions would come later, for now it was time for the fight to finally be over.
A/N So what did you think? I really hope this ending doesn't disappoint anyone! I'm so happy and proud and amazed that I finally finished. I'm sorry it took me this long but I swore I wouldn't abandon it and now I've kept that promise.
Thank you everyone so much for reading and following and reviewing. You are the ones that gave me inspiration to continue and finish this story. This is the longest fanfic I've ever written and I'm incredible proud of it so I hope you all enjoyed it and hit me with a message if you enjoyed my writing and can think of something you'd like for me to write because I am thoroughly out of ideas atm haha.