a/n: Written for the Girl Saves Boy Ficathon over at LJ (community dot livejournal dot com forwardslash girlsavesboyfic). Bit of Ten/Rose action/adventure/fluff for you. Takes place sometime in s2, before Army of Ghosts. Please let me know what you think, I'd really love to hear your feedback. Thanks! (If you're on LJ, please say hi! username=wareander)

She bent time and space, took it inside, burned and raged until he could only cower at her feet. Could only marvel. She found her way back to him, over and over, taking on the universe only to appear, suddenly so human again, and smile at him from the top of a long, wrecked street at the end of days. These were the bigger ways she found to save him, and he could only ever stand back and watch as she became a god, but never lost her humanity; lost everything but never forgot how to love him.

She found him through a haze of pain, staring down with sightless supernova eyes, hurtling through space on the Gamestation, and she had never been more beautiful, but he always thought that, every shining moment. She said it best, then, that thing she'd never been able to put her finger on. What drove her.

She wanted him safe. Her Doctor.

The cool metal pipe was a comforting weight in her sweat slicked hands, and Rose tightened her grip until her joints ached, trying not to make a noise as she walked down an endless hallway, heart racing, breath coming in whispered gasps. So far, this much-hyped space station field trip (look Rose, it has things) could be going better, but she'd learned by now to take it in stride. Trouble followed him, her Doctor, and all she could do was grab his outstretched hand and run. Running always straight into danger, or after certain death, and he did it so gleefully that sometimes it scared her. And she loved it.

God, where the hell was he?

Of the hundred or so doors lining the cramped metal hallway, one stood open fifty yards on, and she jogged towards it without hesitation, the pipe held out in front of her like a baseball bat. Her palpable fear for the Doctor's safely was making her blood boil, and she got that uncomfortable, crawling déjà vu. She remembered being made up entirely of this desire, to wreck anyone who would endanger him. To unmake things. She remembered it in the way you remember a dream—when she tried to hold onto it, to the memories, they skittered away like drops of water burning off in a pan.

Here was the door, and she stopped, flattening herself against the wall, hands twisting around the pipe. She shook off the strange, burning memory, reaching her hand up to push back her hair. The pipe had left that clinging keyring smell on her fingers, and she tried to wipe it away on her jeans, listening. There was someone in there. A garbled, gruff voice that carried the threat of violence in its tone and...yes. The Doctor.

Rose squeezed her eyes shut hard enough to see bursts of color on the back of her eyelids, steeling herself, and then slowly, slowly, peered around the doorjamb. It was a cargo bay, cavernous and packed to the ceiling with containers all around the edges. The room was dominated by a towering oil-on-water force field, and through the shimmering surface Rose caught a glimpse of their playground—all of time, all of space, and silhouetted against it, the Doctor. He was tiny in the vastness of the hangar, and his hands were out in front of him, palms forward, in that familiar gesture of compliance, of "we can talk about it," and she felt an unexpected surge of anger towards him. His recklessness. His unwillingness to defend himself.

She came fully into the doorway, and he didn't turn, but she read the recognition in his eyes as he stared up at an advancing guard, who was easily two feet taller, with skin like tree bark and bulging, alien eyes. The guard waved his gun frantically and gestured at the rows of containers, and the Doctor continued his slow retreat, arms extended.

"No no no no, this is a misunderstanding. I'm not from Skellfrax 4, I've been to Skellfrax 4 of course, lovely beaches, interesting...ah...postal service. Teleports. Can we put the gun down?"

The guard roared, and Rose crept slowly across the room, hardly breathing, the pipe shaking in her hands. The Doctor maneuvered to his left and the guard followed, turning to face squarely away from Rose. "Point is, I'm not here to steal your...I'm sorry, what is it? Weapons? Black market...something? I'm completely at a loss, can I just look in one of the boxes?"

She was so close now, so close, one foot in front of the other, quiet now, quiet, and the guard leveled his weapon at the Doctor's chest. "Wait," this from the Doctor, desperate, but the guard was firing, Rose was raising the pipe above her head, yelling, bringing it down with all of the force of her adrenaline soaked body and the shot went wide, bouncing off of the force field. Rose and the Doctor hit the deck as the bolt of energy ricocheted causing a deafening avalanche of storage containers that seemed to go on forever. The impact set off a kaleidoscopic ripple effect on the force field, splitting stars like atoms, leaving them bobbing and winking strangely in the void. The Doctor scrambled to reach Rose as they both twisted to look up at the guard, still standing, clutching his gun, and it seemed for a moment that he might turn and kill them both, there on the cold metal floor, but he crumpled instead, and the sound was lost in the chaos as the last boxes tumbled to the floor and the echoes died down.

Both panting, sprawled on the floor in the gleaming reflection of the force field, the Doctor and Rose turned to look at each other, their faces inches apart. They stayed like that for a long moment, and Rose forced her cramping hand to release the metal pipe, which rolled to rest a short distance away. She reached out suddenly, on an impulse, and gently smoothed a thumb over his temple. Some unreadable emotion flickered across the Doctor's face, but then he was grinning, leaping to his feet, and staggering as he nearly tripped over his jacket.

"Whoops! Up we get." He reached down, and Rose let him pull her upright. "Rose Tyler! In the cargo bay! With the lead pipe! Brilliant, brilliant Rose."

She laughed in spite of herself and opened her arms to him, felt herself being lifted off her feet, shrieking in surprise and hugging him back, because that's who they were—they giggled and conspired and stumbled over one another as they charged into the next adventure, and Rose refused to consider the possibility that it could ever end. She did what she had to and held onto the thing she loved, and isn't that what we all do, in big and small ways, every day.