"I thought you and me were… but I obviously got it wrong…"

".,, Humans decay. You wither and you die. Imagine watching that happen to someone that you…"

"What, Doctor?"

"You can spend the rest of your life with me. But I can't spend the rest of my life with you."

After Sarah-Jane left, Rose retired to her room without a word. The Doctor set a course, said, "Rickey, don't touch anything," and then followed her.

He knocked on the door he knew was her room. It took a moment for her to answer – he could have sworn he heard a deep, bracing breath – before she said, "come in."

The Doctor opened the door and stepped inside the small room, with barely enough space for a twin bed and a dresser. It was full of personality, though – Rose's personality – with a colorful but homey quilt on the bed, and knick knacks they'd picked up on their travels littering the top of the dresser, along with hair ties and eyeliner and other… womanly… things. Moreover, that smell that was undeniably Rose, that he got a blissful whiff of whenever they hugged, that smell filled the whole room. He wanted to sleep in that smell.

Rose was perched on the side of her bed. She looked slumped over, defeated, confused, angry, but didn't seem to want to admit to any of it.

"Can - can I sit?" the Doctor asked. Rose shrugged. The Doctor sat daintily on the bed next to her, attempting to keep a safe distance between them, but it was a soft bed, and as it sunk under his weight his leg involuntarily fell towards hers. He tried to pull it back slowly, not to make it look like he was flinching away from her.

"Why did you do that?" Rose asked out of the blue, an angry tone to her voice.

"Do what?"

"Let Mickey come. You saw me say no, you knew I didn't want him to…"

"I don't see why not, he's your—"

"No," she said, loudly and hastily. "No… he's… he's not."


There was a long awkward pause.

"Do you want me to kick him out? Open the TARDIS door, give him a swift kick in the bum, so long, Rickey!"

Despite herself Rose giggled a little. "No, it's alright. Maybe I am being unfair. I… I just… I like it when it's just us…"

The Doctor looked down at his hands, folded in his lap. He wouldn't answer, but Rose thought she saw him nod his head repeatedly, as if he agreed. He took a deep breath and lifted his head to say, "I'm sorry."

"Oh, don't worry about Mickey. Actually could be kinda fun…"

"No, I mean, I'm sorry about what I said last night. It was… cruel."

Rose took a deep breath and looked up and away, as if trying to hold in tears, and hide the ones that slipped out from the Doctor's line of vision.

"Rose, look at me…"

She turned around. One tear was rolling down her cheek. The Doctor reached his hand up to her face, wiping the tear away with his thumb… but the rest of his hand lingered there, resting on the side of her jaw. They looked at each other. Rose's eyes drifted to the Doctor's lips. Her own lips were slightly parted, and the bottom, full lip trembled just a little. Her breath hitched in her throat.

Softly, sensuously, she said, "you know, Sarah-Jane gave me a piece of advice…"

Just as softly, his voice breaking just a little, his hand still on her face, he said, "what was that?"

Suddenly, several earsplitting noises erupted from the console room, as if a whole cabinet of steel pans had clattered to the floor in the midst of a loud clanging bell.

The Doctor jumped up and shouted, "Rickey, I told you not to touch anything!" and he ran off without a glance behind him, mentally cursing himself for his moment of weakness. As he ran out, he was too distracted to hear Rose release a frustrated sob.