A/N: Hiya :D Ten/Rose oneshot. Opens with them having an argument after Rose almost got killed on some alien planet. Again. The Doctor isn't happy. Set somewhere in series 2. Hope you enjoy :)
That's The Man He Is
They walked back to the TARDIS in a stony silence.
They stood in the console room for several minutes, staring each other down.
Rose turned away from him, and mumbled something about going to bed.
Not saying a word, he walked her to her room.
"Always have to go and get yourself into trouble, don't you?" the Doctor muttered under his breath, once she'd walked inside.
"Oh! Ha! Never mind the Lord of Time, you really are the King of Hypocrisy, aren't you!" Rose exclaimed in indignation, spinning around and looking at him heatedly.
"Yeah, well at least I don't deliberately wander off and make a nuisance of myself!" he retorted hotly, not even meeting her eyes, choosing instead to flip through a magazine on her dressing table absently.
"Well, if I'm that much bother, then why didn't you just leave me there?" she shouted angrily.
"I would've, but you make it so bloody impossible for me to do that, don't you?" he retorted, his voice rising in frustration as his eyes snapped up.
"And what's that supposed to mean?" she demanded, her arms folding defensively.
He growled, and grabbed her by the shoulders and hauled her closer to him. "You really are the most annoying person I have ever met," he told her, his eyes flitting from one of her eyes to the other, imploring them wildly to try and see what she was thinking inside that stupid human brain of hers.
"Thanks!" Rose snapped sarcastically.
"It had to be you, didn't it?" he mused, his voice full of satire. "It had to be you, in that god damn shop! Anyone else, I would have been in and out and off on my own, just as it should be, but nooo, you...you had to be there, and you had to make me..." he trailed off.
"Make you what, Doctor? In case you're forgetting, you asked me to come with you. Twice. You could have just walked away, but you didn't. And now – now, you could walk away whenever. You've made it perfectly clear that you don't get attached, you don't do domestic, and what you do is you run - and that's what you want to do now, isn't it? Run away again! Run away from me! So why don't you just do it, eh? Why don't you just dump me home like you did to all the rest?"
"I can't!" he exclaimed indignantly. "You keep coming back!"
Rose gaped at him in shock, and tried to take a step back, hurt by his words, but he held her where she was. "Yeah, to save your life," she choked out. "Nice to know that's appreciated," she said shakily, rolling her eyes to cover how unwanted he was making her feel.
"You could have killed yourself. I wouldn't have appreciated that," the Doctor replied, his jaw clenching.
"What, you saying you care now, eh? Well, you've changed your tune!" she shouted.
"What? What? What?" he spluttered. "Of course I care! That's why I sent you home back then. That's why I should always send you home."
"I'm not stupid, you know. I can take care of myself. I've done my fair share of saving your arse as much as you've saved me!" she pointed out defiantly.
He glared at her.
At this rate, he was going to give her whiplash, she thought, as he shook her shoulders roughly.
"Rose, I mean it. It's so dangerous, travelling with me, and sometimes, all I'm doing is trying to keep you safe."
"Well, like I said, if I'm that much trouble, just get rid of me," she challenged.
"That's not what I meant," he ground out harshly.
"No! Anyway, I don't want to get rid of you, Rose! If I did, I would've done by now!"
"I thought you just said that you would leave me behind, except you can't, because I just keep coming back?"
"Oh, for Rassilon's sake!" he sighed dramatically. "Do you listen to every word I say?"
"Yes," she answered simply, because it was the truth.
"Right. Well, listen to this, and believe it Rose, believe it, because this is the truth!" he paused, clearing his throat, his hands still holding her shoulders tightly. "I don't want to leave you behind."
"Then what the hell is your problem?" she responded, near-screaming in frustration. "Honestly, you go around, acting all - "
" - I love you!" he blurted out. "Alright? I love you. And I don't want you to get hurt. That's my problem."
Rose stood very still, struck dumb and breathing heavily. "Wh...what, I..." she stammered.
The Doctor looked as shocked at himself as she did. He'd tried in vain for that little bit of information not to fall from his lips. Whoops.
"Rose," he began. "Listen to me. You can't just go blundering in all the time, not knowing what's ahead of you. If you..." he trailed off, choking on the words he was about to say. He couldn't even think about Rose...dying. He just couldn't. It would...oh, it would break him, he knew it would.
And she stared at him, as if she couldn't believe what she was hearing.
He had to confess all to her now. He just had to. "Oh, you have no idea, do you?"
Rose shook her head. She tried to say, "What?" but her throat was dry and all that came out was a wheeze of breath.
He sighed. "The thing is...well, every day, I am learning that it gets more and more difficult not to fall in love with you a little bit more. Every. Single. Day," he whispered furiously, shaking her shoulders again to try and get some sort of reaction. She still just stared at him, mouth hanging open and eyes wide with shock. "So how could I just leave you?" he continued, more softly this time.
After a few moments, he released his grip on her and let his arms fall to his sides. He closed his eyes tightly and took a deep breath, before spinning around and walking towards the door. He had to get some air, clear his head. Get away from such an unresponsive Rose. He couldn't bear to be standing in front of her with her not saying she loved him too.
It hurt him more than he thought it ought to. After all, it wasn't like he deserved her love.
"Doctor," Rose called, her voice low and unsure. It stopped him in his tracks.
The Doctor turned to face her. "What?" he snapped, more harshly than he meant to sound.
"I'm sorry," she whispered.
He frowned, and examined the floor studiously. "I..." he began. He looked up. "Why are you sorry?" he asked then, confused and worried. Was she saying sorry because she didn't feel the same, or sorry for getting herself into unnecessary danger again?
"I...I don't know...I just thought...I can't..." she trailed off, her voice catching. She gestured to the door, and started to walk towards it.
Realisation seemed to dawn on him then, and he paled at the very thought. "Rose...wait," he croaked out. He cleared his throat. "Don't leave."
Rose paused, her hand on the door handle. "Then don't leave me," she whispered.
"Wha – no, I wouldn't. I already said that, didn't I? It's...it's impossible for me to do that, even though I should, because let's face it, you could never be happy with me, not in the long run, because you'd want...you know, more, and you don't want that with me, and yet I can't let you go, not yet, maybe not ever, because I can't help but love you and I'm selfish and I - "
" – Doctor," Rose interrupted firmly. She stepped up to him, and stood there, barely an inch away from him. "You have no idea, do you?" she whispered, repeating the words he said to her just minutes before. "Just how much I love you too."
His brow furrowed as he took in her words. Part of him was elated; part of him knew that this was a doomed conversation. "I don't deserve it," he said finally, his rational brain overruling his urge to accept her love. "Your love, I mean. I don't deserve your love. I deserve to be alone."
"No you don't, for god's sake!" she snapped, and she was so loud in her exclamation, so close to his face, that he visibly flinched. "You don't deserve that!" She shoved him in the chest roughly, and he stumbled backwards, landing on her bed with a bounce. "You've been on your own far too fucking long, Doctor!"
He sat upright, shocked at her anger and cursing, and stared at her in his Oncoming Storm sort of way, his hands gripping the edge of the bed so hard that his knuckles turned white. "You have no clue just what I've done, Rose, in my life. All my people, everyone and everything, gone, because of me, and not just them, but loads more, entire species, destroyed by my hand and I - "
" – you had to, Doctor! You had to; otherwise, what was the alternative, hmm?" she shouted, desperately trying to get through to him. She stepped closer and grabbed him by the shoulders this time, leaning down so they were eye-level, pressing her forehead against his.
"And you," he continued, as if she hadn't spoken, as if she wasn't so close to him right then. "You're so young, so young and so fantastic and you deserve better than me, Rose, you really do, and - "
" – you're the best thing that's ever happened to me," she told him insistently, pushing him so that his back landed against the mattress. She clambered onto his lap roughly, straddling him and fisting her hands into his shirt. "Anyway," she mumbled. "I thought you said you couldn't let me go."
"I can't," he whispered, desperately trying to ignore the way she made him feel, sitting on him like this. He looked up at her above him, and summoned the strength to refrain from kissing her right there and then. "I can't," he repeated, as he sat up straight, nearly shifting her off of him.
"No?" Rose replied, clinging onto his shirt tighter so that she didn't fall off his lap. "Because all this, it sounds suspiciously like it's leading up to a 'goodbye and get out' sort of conversation," she said, choking back a sob.
He shook his head gently. "I'm just trying to show you who I really am, Rose. Because you can't love me when you know that."
"I know who you are," she told him decisively. She pressed her forehead to his again, and closed her eyes. "You're the Doctor. You're the last of the Time Lords, the very last one, and that means you need someone. You need me, because if you're on your own, then you'll be miserable. You're the man who asked me to run away with him in his magical machine, and you're the one who holds my hand every day, and hugs me all the time. You're the man who tries not to cry when he talks of his home, of Gallifrey, and you're the one who holds me tight when I cry."
She gazed at him then, deep into his teary eyes, and hoped he understood how true her next words were.
"You're the man who saves people every single day, and yeah, trouble and death seems to follow you sometimes but it's better than sitting doing nothing to help, because those people would be a hell of a lot worse off if you weren't there. You're the man who helps people see that they're brilliant. You're the man who loves to run – run for your life, or run for the sake of running because running is brilliant, it doesn't matter, as long as you're running," she said, starting to grin at him impishly.
"Rose - " he tried to say, but she quickly moved on.
"You're the man who loves bananas. You used to have blue eyes and big ears, but you loved bananas then, and you still love bananas now, because bananas are a good source of potassium and you should always take a banana to a party. Now, you're rude and not ginger and you have brown eyes that turn darker when you're angry at an injustice or something, and I feel, sometimes, when you look at me, that you say what you never used to say out loud in them. You're completely mad, but that's brilliant because I love that about you. You wear sexy glasses even though I suspect you don't really need them half as much as you pretend, you just like to look like the big sexy geek that you are," she paused, licking her lips unconsciously, only noticing when his gaze slip to watch. She smiled, and continued with her description.
"You read to me when I'm feeling ill, and you eat marmalade out of the jar with your fingers, which should be disgusting but is actually very alluring, as long as you don't do it in public, or else I won't be responsible for my actions and we could end up getting arrested for indecency or something," she paused when he chuckled, and giggled with him.
"You think you're so impressive, and you are, although, you don't give me as much Spock as I once asked for, but that's okay because you don't even need that. You lick things – you love to lick things, and because of that oral fixation of yours, there have been moments where I've wondered why you haven't kissed me before, just...just to see. And, while we're sort of on that subject, you once told me that you had the moves, but I have yet to see such moves, so you're the man who, in about five minutes, will have to prove to me that you can in fact dance, because I can't bloody wait any longer." She cleared her throat, realising when she looked at the Doctor's amused expression and raised eyebrow that she'd gone a bit off track there a moment. She closed her eyes again and continued.
"But anyway, you're the man who makes me laugh, and you're the man who I want to give my forever to. You're the man I love, for all of those reasons and hundreds more. You're the man who has two hearts, hearts that race with excitement when you find something suspicious, or dangerous, or interesting, or impossible - "
" – when I'm near you, then," he interjected, with a small smile, gentle tears beginning to silently fall from his eyes.
Rose bit her lip in surprise at his comment, and leant closer into him, her hands coming up to rest over each of his hearts. Eyes closed, and forehead still against his, she felt her tears merge with his as they sneaked their way under her eyelids as sure as she felt his hearts race beneath her palms.
"You're the man," she continued, her voice shaky. "Who told me, a few minutes ago, that he loved me, and could never let me go." She heard him swallow thickly, and felt him wrap his arms around her waist tightly. "And you're the man who then tried to make me stop loving him. The man who tried to break my heart so that I would leave him, instead of the other way around, as much as he doesn't want me to actually do that. Basically, you're a daft idiot, who needs to let yourself love, because you do deserve that."
The Doctor was breathing heavily, trying to control his voice as he whispered, "I...I can't...I'm sorry, I..."
"And you want to know a secret?" Rose asked when he trailed off, her eyes fluttering open, filled with tears that insistently poured their way down her cheeks and onto his. She stared at him, willing him to understand her words properly. "I'm not going anywhere," she whispered. "You're the man who's stuck with Rose Tyler for the rest of her life. That is who you are."
He cradled her head in his hands, pulling her face away from his slightly. He sniffed, trying to act indifferent to the tears cascading down his face. "You know what?" he said, swallowing past the lump in his throat and appearing to contemplate her words. "I think I can deal with that," he announced. "As long as you do something for me."
She frowned. "What's that?" she asked nervously.
"Don't tell anyone I cried," he whispered, mock-conspiringly. "Cos we can't have my mortal enemies thinking I'm some soppy old romantic, or I'd never uphold my reputation," he explained, letting go of her head and adjusting his tie. "Wrong word in the wrong place could - "
" – change an entire causal nexus?" she improvised, playing around with scientific-sounding words she'd often heard him use.
"Well, no, not quite, 'cos that doesn't make any sense. But it would cause a – hang on. Actually, that's right. How did you know that?" he asked, baffled and even more attracted to her in that instant.
"Doctor. I don't know and I don't care," she told him gravely.
He looked wounded for a moment, but then beamed happily. "Right. Well." He cleared his throat, amazed at the words that he knew he was about to say. But things couldn't wait any longer; they couldn't keep pretending, holding back... "Better just kiss you, then, hadn't I?"
"Yeah, I think you'd better," she replied, smiling.
The Doctor wiped her cheeks with the pads of his thumbs, then slowly brought his head forward so that their lips could meet.
Hesitant and unfamiliar at first, they soon found their way, and within a few seconds she was pushing him back down onto the mattress as she kissed him back, just as soundly as he was kissing her. His hands skimmed down her back, over her bum, and finally decided to rest on her hips, pulling her flush against him. Her hands simply wrestled with his hair, ruffling it up into an even sexier disarray than usual. She'd always wanted to do that.
He flipped her over, covering her body with his, his fingers fluttering along the bare skin of her stomach as he delved beneath the hem of her top. She broke off the kiss, gasping for breath. "Doctor?" she just about said, struggling for coherency.
"Yeah?" he replied, nibbling her bottom lip, his eyelashes fluttering against her cheeks softly.
"Show me your moves," she whispered.
In the deep dark edge of night...or what constitutes night on the TARDIS, anyway...Rose was watching something rare and very, very special. She was watching the Doctor sleep.
Tracing her finger in swirly patterns against his bare chest, Rose smiled. It was so unusual, this. Her being awake, him being asleep. She revelled in it, knowing that it might not happen again. She should be asleep herself, by rights...after what they'd just done. After what he'd just accomplished. Suffice to say, his moves over the past couple of hours had been mind-blowing. Kind of literally, in some cases. The telepathy had been interesting.
Anyway, she should be tired. Knackered. Exhausted. And in truth, she was all of that. But most of all she was excited. And happy. Very, very happy. And she couldn't switch off. She couldn't stop thinking about him long enough to fall asleep. God, she loved this man. And the amazing thing was, he loved her back. So, so much. She knew that now. He'd told her, and then he'd shown her.
And she had shown him that that was okay. More than okay. Brilliant. He was allowed to feel that way about her because her and him, they were meant to do this. They were meant to fall in love. He deserved this. So did she. She was looking after him, just as much as he was her. And it was wonderful.
She watched as his chest rose and fell steadily as he slept in a peaceful slumber. He'd admitted to her once, long ago when he looked different, that he rarely slept – firstly, because he hardly needed to, and secondly, because he dreamt of the War, and all he'd lost, and it hurt too much.
About half-hour ago, he told her that he hadn't had a dream like that since that one last time after the Dalek at Van Stattan's museum. And even before then...well. She'd crept into his dreams. Ever since he'd met her. So much so that it was her he saw, with him, watching Gallifrey burn. It was her he saw, being killed by a Dalek, or some other hideous creature intent on taking the ones he loved from him. It was her he saw, looking at him with hatred and fear in her eyes – the things he was so scared of her feeling for him, because, if he was honest with himself, he so desperately wanted her to love him, to forgive him.
He admitted that when he slept, maybe once a week, perhaps just once a fortnight, but every single time...he dreamt of her. Of losing her, mostly. She was his everything now, and it frightened him more and more to think that one day, she'd leave, or get hurt, or die. It hurt far, far too much to dream dreams like that about Rose, so he put off sleeping until he really needed to. Often, he'd watch over her as she slept, instead. Reassuring himself that she was still here, alive, with him. Sometimes, he confessed to her quietly, he had overstepped the line and sat in the chair by her bed and sought out her hand while she was sleeping, holding on tight until morning, when he would make a hasty retreat in case she minded him invading her personal space while she was unconscious.
After he told her all that, she didn't seem to mind one little bit. She smiled gently, and hugged him closer, silently reassuring him that she wasn't going anywhere, and he had all the permission in the universe to be with her always. To hold her hand whenever he wanted to.
About twenty-five minutes ago, when Rose had confessed that she dreamt about him, too – just in an altogether more inappropriate way, she'd laughed at him when he blushed and averted his eyes. She asked him if he had ever dreamt a dream like that about her, and he'd ignored her question by burrowing his face into her neck. She asked him again, and he groaned and pulled back to look at her seriously, right in the eye. That's when he confessed that occasionally...yes, he had. She teased him and asked him how often was occasionally, and he insisted that considering he hardly slept, it wasn't often at all.
About twenty-one minutes ago, he mumbled into her shoulder that he rather frequently day-dreamt about such inappropriate activities, however, which caused her to grin mischievously and nibble his ear before muttering, "Good."
About nineteen minutes ago, he mentioned that once, he'd got electrocuted whilst attempting to fix something under the console, due to him becoming distracted by the rather excellent vantage point he had of her long legs swinging back and forth while she sat on the Captain's Chair. He also said that he frequently became distracted by Rose's cheeky smile, and that that was why it sometimes looked as though he wasn't really listening to her when she was talking to him. Then he muttered something about how inconsiderate it was of her: to wear that dungaree-skirt-dress-thingy while chasing a werewolf, to get excited about chasing a werewolf, and being altogether very cheeky to flipping Queen Victoria. Apparently, he fell in love with her even more that day.
About sixteen-and-a-half minutes ago, she admitted that she often did all that deliberately. He looked at her, affronted, before rolling his eyes and saying something like, "Typical." She'd felt his smile against her neck, though, and she knew he loved it. She especially knew he loved it when he started kissing his way down her body again.
About twelve minutes ago, her head was spinning again, and he fell asleep against her.
About six minutes ago, he rolled over onto his back, bringing her with him so that her head rest against his chest.
And about four minutes ago, Rose raised herself up on her elbow to watch him, her fingers trailing swirly patterns on his chest.
She was so happy, that she thought she might laugh out loud. So she did. Really, really laughed. Hysterically, amazingly happy.
He woke up, then, and she felt guilty for interrupting his sated, peaceful sleep.
He didn't complain.
But she made it up to him anyway, once he had described the exceedingly pleasant dream he had just had.
He loved her, and he loved the man he'd become because of that, right from the very start; before his regeneration, even. Because of her, he was better, and she'd shown him that that night. Apparently, he deserved her. He still wasn't so sure about that, but he wasn't going to complain about it anymore. He was stuck with Rose Tyler for the rest of her life. That's what she said. That's the man he was. He disagreed a little with that, too, for he did not think he was stuck with her. He thought he was incredibly lucky to be able to keep her for her forever. And he would not let a day go past where he did not show her so.
Because her forever was not nearly long enough.