A/N: I had a whole lot of trouble with the episode "The Girl in the Fireplace" (S2E04), enough trouble that I just had to write this crappy , slightly OOC/AU one-shot. First Doctor Who fic; be kind and review!
Disclaimer: BBC Wales owns all things Whovian. I am a humble Uni student who couldn't give them much money if they even bothered to sue me.
It had been a week or so since the Doctor's adventures in 18th Century France, and the Doctor couldn't help but notice that Rose was extremely distant from him, like never before.
Oh sure, on the surface, life in the TARDIS was completely normal (minus the obvious and annoying addition of Mickey). They still flitted across the universe, seeing the sights and oohing and ahhing, they still got into trouble and had to save people or planets or run frantically back to the TARDIS, and they were still able to laugh and joke and drink cups of tea together in the TARDIS kitchen.
But Rose didn't hug him. She didn't grasp his hand when he ran together. And sometimes, when she thought he couldn't see, he would catch her staring at him with... an aching, terrible sadness in her eyes, a cold desperation that would send his two hearts panicking. Because Rose was getting distant. And if Rose became too distant, she would leave, and he couldn't have that. No, he really could not have that.
Later that evening, Rose lay quietly in her bed, listening to the TARDIS rumble around her. She heard the creak of a door and saw Mickey's silhouette in the doorframe, but quickly pretended to be sound asleep in the hope that he would just go away. Because she really needed to be alone.
Luckily, Mickey did just that, shutting the door behind him, and Rose breathed a sigh of relief. It quickly became a strangled sob. And for the seventh night this week, she broke down into desperate sobs, her mouth gaping in silent pain as tears ran down her face and dropped onto the pillow under her head. She grabbed the pillow and hugged it to her, trying desperately to find some comfort in her life, knowing deep down, for the first time, that everything would not be all right.
Rose almost screamed when she felt a hand against her back, angry that Mickey was intruding in this private moment. "Please leave, Mickey," she muttered through gritted teeth, her voice low and dangerous. There was silence from behind her, before the hesitating voice of the Doctor whispered "It's me."
Rose felt a flash of intense pain through her and she sat up abruptly, turning to face him.
The Doctor reeled back at the livid anger he saw in her eyes. Oh please, please, let us work through this, he thought silently, frightened of the intense emotion directed towards him.
"Rose." the Doctor said quietly, but with matching intensity in his eyes. He slowly moved his hand on top of hers, but she jerked it away.
"Leave. Now." whispered Rose. She knew he was going to try to talk about how she'd been acting, and she really did not have the strength tonight. Not when he would be so clueless about everything, not when she knew how little her feelings really meant to him.
"Please, Rose. Please tell me what's wrong!" The Doctor's voice was loud and pleading, despair seeping into his voice.
"No." Rose cut him off almost disdainfully. She climbed off her bed and began to walk to the door but his arm shot out and grabbed her wrist. Their gazes met and a battle of wills engaged between their eyes.
Finally the Doctor looked away and down, then back up with an imploring look. "Talk to me, Rose," he whispered.
Rose stood stock still, breathing shallowly. "You left us," she whispered, even quieter than him.
He looked confused. "What?"
"YOU LEFT ME!" She screamed, rage pouring through her again. The confused look on his face only fueled her anger. "You left me stranded on a dead ship with no hope of escape! You abandoned me, Mickey, the TARDIS, all to save-" here she broke off, choking back a sob. She breathed deeply, calming herself, before finishing in a tone that only trembled slightly. "You thought at the time that you couldn't come back, and you... completely abandoned me anyway."
The Doctor sat on the edge of her bed in shocked silence, still holding on to her wrist. He opened his mouth, even though he had no reply-
"AND I GAVE UP EVERYTHING FOR YOU!" Rose couldn't stop herself now, her feelings pouring out of her. He had to know. He had to know how desperately alone she felt, how stupid and idiotic for trusting him this much, when he had betrayed everything she thought that their relationship was based on.
The Doctor stood up slowly, and pulled Rose into an embrace. She struggled weakly for a few seconds, before just sobbing against his chest, grabbing at his lapels. It felt so good to be comforted by him, even if she knew it was all a pretense.
The Doctor waited for Rose to quiet and still against him, before raising his hands to her face and holding it level to his. Gazing into her eyes, he whispered, "I'm sorry."
Rose's eyebrows shot up. Of all the things she expected the Doctor to say, she didn't expect an apology. She didn't think she'd ever heard him apologize before. For anything.
The Doctor swallowed thickly, before stroking her cheek with his thumb. Rose leaned instinctively into his touch; she couldn't help herself. "I... care... so deeply about you, Rose. You need to know that." COWARD! shouted his brain. But he still couldn't bring himself to say it, the three most terrifying words in the universe: I love you. Shaking his head slightly, he began cautiously. "I'm so sorry I left you stranded. You, Rose, of... of all people." She stood there silently. He plunged ahead: "I forgot. I forgot that you couldn't pilot the TARDIS. You seem so-" he ran a hand distractedly through his hair "-capable. So much of the time."
Rose didn't know how to take that. Listening to him had calmed her down quite a bit though; he always seemed to be able to do that. "When you... were trapped in France." She paused worriedly. "Did you regret it?"
"Yes," he said immediately. He scuffed the toe of his trainer against the TARDIS floor. "Couldn't believe what an idiot I'd been. I still can't see any other way to have saved 18th Century Versailles and Reinette-" Rose cringed at that name; she couldn't help herself, "-but I knew I'd done something truly stupid." The Doctor shoved his hands deep into his jacket pockets, avoiding Rose's eyes. "I'm not infallible, you know. Sometimes I get carried away playing the hero. Especially for a historical figure like Madame de Pompadour." He popped the 'p' loudly, his face showing self-loathing.
Rose said softly "I suppose it's hard for any companion to be compared to someone like Madame de Pompadour..."
"What? Don't be stupid," said the Doctor bluntly. Rose looked sharply taken aback. The Doctor grabbed his hair with both hands. "Christ, I'm being rude again." Rose felt the corner of her mouth twinge upwards. "Rose, you are... an exceptional woman. Best human being in existence. Maybe best sentient being in existence." The Doctor sighed frustratedly. "The problem isn't you. The problem is me, being an idiot. Even more of an idiot than Mickey," he couldn't resist adding with a smirk. Rose laughed then, and it was the best sound in the world.
There was nothing that Rose could do but trust him. A voice in the back of her mind was still whispering the troubling words, that maybe he was just good at saying exactly what she wanted to hear, that maybe he would do this again to her. But he was her Doctor. And she was his Rose. Maybe not in the way that she would really liked to be, but as he pulled her into his arms again, she pushed all troubling thoughts aside. "I betrayed my promise to Jackie, Rose. About always keeping you safe. And I betrayed you too. I am... so sorry," he whispered directly into her ear, causing her body to shiver slightly. He drew back to look at her face again, his eyes glistening with un-shed tears, to Rose's surprise. "I almost lost you today."
"Well, all's well that ends well, right?" Rose said nervously, trying to break the tension between them. The Doctor's gaze was piercing her in a way that she had never seen before. Well, maybe for a few seconds, when he thought she couldn't see him. When she was bending over to pick something up, or wearing a particularly low-cut top.
The Doctor moved to stand even closer to Rose, his lips hovering millimeters above hers.
And suddenly, with no one making the first move, they were kissing. His tongue swept inside her mouth, and she threw her arms around his neck, holding on for dear life.
And as they melted against each other and fell in what felt like slow motion towards her bed, Rose knew deep down, for the first time, that everything would be all right.