Set sometime between "Idiot's Lantern" and "Fear Her."

I don't own Doctor Who, but I do own a sonic screwdriver.

Y'charra, Umbraxa, solar year 12,013…

Rose suppressed the urge to laugh as the Doctor pulled her through the night; there was nothing funny about their current situation, and she doubted the Doctor would appreciate the amusement that bubbled up inside her as the angry gang of aliens pursued them. He had promised her mother that he would keep her safe, but Rose knew that her definition of the word was very different from her mother's. Jackie Tyler would have her locked away safe in the TARDIS as the Doctor took care of whatever trouble popped up, but Rose knew the safest place in the universe for her was at the Doctor's side.

So she was currently running for her life through the darkened streets of an alien city, letting a 900 year old Time Lord tug and direct her as she blindly followed. In short, Rose was having the time of her life.

"This isn't remotely funny," he chastised lightly as they turned a corner and pressed against the wall in an attempt to hide and let Rose catch her breath. She could tell by his tone that he wasn't really upset, but she knew by the look in his eyes he was worried for her. Their plans almost always went awry, and more often than not they ended up narrowly escaping death or capture. And, despite her many insistences to the contrary, she knew the Doctor blamed himself for dragging her into the thick of things.

"Sorry," she told him, not feeling remotely repentant. "Something always comes up, though, doesn't it?" His eyes darkened with an unidentifiable emotion, and she hid a shudder at the intensity of his gaze. But just as quickly it was gone, replaced by a light, teasing glimmer.

"You know, my life was a little less exciting before you. I think it's your fault." She slapped his shoulder lightly, opening her mouth for a witty retort. But a crash from the alley ahead snapped them back into focus, and the Doctor seized her hand once again. "Just an animal; they're still behind us," he announced, pulling her down the alley. "Don't worry, the TARDIS is only a few more turns away." Rose could feel the small niggle of comfort that she'd come to associate with the TARDIS, and she knew he was right. A few more corners and they would be home free. Heavy footfalls echoed off the buildings, but Rose felt nothing but elation as they rounded one more turn.

"Wait!" a rough voice called out to them, but neither of them even turned their heads. They were so close to the final corner, close to freedom and the relief that came with knowing they'd escaped again. They couldn't hear anything but the sound of their hearts beating wildly and the rush of air around them. The Doctor turned the final corner first and rejoiced at the sight of his beloved ship waiting faithfully. Rose stumbled next to him and he slowed his pace a fraction to allow her to catch up with his stride. He glanced sidelong and smiled at the grin spread across her face; she could see it too. She stumbled again, letting out a soft whimper, and he turned his head to really look at her.

She wasn't grinning, he realized, but grimacing. The sleeve and left side of her light blue blouse were dark and moist now, and the Doctor's hearts stopped for a fraction of a second as he realized what had happened. The Umbraxaal had fired on them, had hit Rose, and he hadn't even noticed in his excitement to get home. Rose's legs gave out and the Doctor almost stopped to assess the damage. But their pursuers rounded the corner at that moment, and the Doctor knew their only salvation lay within the TARDIS. Ignoring her cry of pain, he scooped Rose up into his arms and carried her to the TARDIS. Fumbling with her weight against one side, he quickly unlocked the door and tumbled inside before slamming the door behind them. He glared at the door for a brief second, as if daring their attackers to break the laws of the universe and follow them in.

"Doctor?" Rose's soft voice pulled his attention back to her, and he quickly made his way to the room that served as an Infirmary.

Too much blood, he thought as he carefully laid her down on the bed. He smoothed her sweat-soaked hair from her face, frowning as his hands left traces of her own blood on her forehead. He darted around frantically, grabbing bandages, soap, and sponges from every cupboard he opened. Finally, he returned to her side and forced her to look at him.

"I have to remove the shirt , Rose. Stay focused now!" The urgency in his voice stopped her eyes from glazing over, and he made quick work of the blood-soaked cloth. The round had passed clean through the left side of her chest, and his mind quickly supplied the list of tissue that had been damaged. He rolled her over and pressed a wad of sponges to the entrance wound, hoping to stem the flow.

"Too much blood," he whispered his earlier thought, and replaced the soaked sponges with clean ones.

"Doctor?" her voice was weaker, and his vision blurred as tears filled his eyes.

"No, you're gonna be fine, Rose. I'll fix you up, I promise." A small smile graced her lips as her eyes closed over tears of her own.

"I know."

"Rose! Open your eyes, Rose!" he cried, forcing the tears away in order to concentrate on her. "Rose Tyler, open your eyes!" The command in his voice got through to her, and her eyelids fluttered open. "Keep them open, Rose. Focus on my face. That's it." He switched out clean sponges again, letting his other hand press more into the hole on her chest.

"I feel funny," she said quietly, "like I'm floating. Is the gravity off?"

"No," he said, though he wasn't sure if he was answering her question or fighting off the implication of her words. "You have to hang on, Rose. Once I've stopped the blood loss I'll get you patched up." He silently cursed himself for not having the foresight to stock some blood for her. He had never let himself think about Rose being critically injured before, and now that denial would kill her.

"I can't keep my eyes open," she admitted, letting her head loll to one side. His left hand moved from its position over her wound to cup her face and pull it back to look at him.

"Rose, look at me. Come on!" Her eyes connected with his, and he despaired at the defeat in them. "No, don't give up. You'll be okay, Rose. Just hold on for me, please!"

"I can't," she answered as her beautiful eyes filled with tears. "I'm scared." The Doctor froze at her words, feeling his hearts seize within in his chest. In her two years of traveling with him they had faced down Daleks and Cybermen and Slitheen. She had single-handedly stood up to creatures that would terrify seasoned soldiers and had, on more than one occasion, saved his life. But she had never, not once, uttered those two little words to him. Rose Tyler never got scared; it was an absolute law in his universe.

But now he could see the terror in her eyes as she forced her gaze to his, and he felt his world tilt. He continued holding pressure against her wounds, but when another handful came away soaked in red he felt the hopelessness wash over him.

Everything dies.

His own words came back to haunt him as he watched the life slowly drain from her fragile, beautiful body. Clutching more sponges to the weeping hole in her chest, he pitched his voice low and desperate.

"I just…I need you to hold on, Rose." His voice cracked with emotion as he hovered over her beautiful face. "I need you to just…" he dropped his forehead to hers, letting out a shaky breath. "I need you." A feather-light touch on his back startled him, but he stayed put when he realized it was Rose's hand ghosting lightly over his jacket. Her touch was weak, and he knew it was probably agonizing for her, but he couldn't force himself to tell her to stop. Rose was dying, and these were the last moments they would ever have together.

"I'm sorry, Doctor," she whispered, holding back a moan of pain. "I guess forever came sooner than I thought."

"No, Rose," her gentle defeat rekindled him once again, and he lurched back into action with shaky hands. Clean sponges replaced old ones, and this time he left them there as he wrapped a large bandage tightly around her body. Her body was still warm to his cooler skin, but he could tell her core temperature was dangerously low.

"Shh," her hand moved his side to his face, and he dipped down to let her touch his skin. "My Doctor," she forced a smile onto her face even as another wave of pain hit her. "Have a fantastic life."

The moment between life and death was so fleeting the Doctor's mind didn't really process it. But as Rose's limp hand fell away from his face and her muscles slackened forever, he fell to his knees. An anguished sound escaped from his throat somewhere between a sob and a scream, and he grabbed the edge of the table to keep from falling over.

"No." It was a whisper at first, a delicate cry to the universe. In his mind, he felt the TARDIS give a shudder of sorrow as Rose was ripped from their consciousness, and the Doctor's keening moan became a wail. His face became sodden with tears as he bowed his head at her bedside, sobbing in misery as Rose's soul slipped away.

Don't fret loves, there's more on the way! But in the meantime...what did ya think?