A/N: Set after The Idiot's Lantern.
The (Almost) Completely Innocent Sleeping Arrangement
It all started the night that followed the day on which she'd had a woman on the telly that wasn't really a woman steal her face.
Rose shifted slightly beneath the duvet and blinked open her eyes slowly, still half-asleep as she watched the Doctor abruptly jump up from his perch on the edge of her bed, his wide-eyed gaze and ear-tugging indicating his embarrassment at being caught.
"Um, sorry, I...I'll just – " he made a gesture towards the door, telling her he'd leave. But he just swallowed thickly and stayed standing where he was, staring at her.
Her brow furrowed at his evident distress. "You 'kay?" she mumbled, reaching her hand out to touch his arm gently.
He instantly met her palm with his own and intertwined their fingers tightly. "Yeah," he whispered shakily. He cleared his throat. "Well, I...no. Not really."
"It wasn't your fault," she assured him, tugging him towards her. He sat back down on the edge of her bed and looked at her helplessly, lifting his free hand to brush her hair back from her eyes.
"It was," he replied softly. "Your face, I – " He cut himself off, and glanced away. "I just...I had to come and make sure you're alright. I'm sorry I just barged in and stared at you while you were sleeping, it's just, I couldn't...I couldn't seem to leave." He glanced back at her and half-smiled. "I had thought that maybe you'd have a nightmare, but you were smiling in your sleep, you know. Dreaming of a happy place?"
"Mmmhmm," she agreed, snuggling back down into her duvet. "Right here." She met his sad gaze, and now she'd woken up a bit more she could see how his eyes glistened in the light streaming in through her door from the corridor. "Hey," she whispered, pulling him closer still, until he ended up tilting so far over that he was practically lying next to her. "Don't be sad. All's okay now. You saved me. Face back in place." She grinned at him as she nudged his side with her elbow.
At the sight of her big smile he relaxed. Stroking the back of her hand with his thumb, his eyes searched hers as he murmured, "You should go back to sleep. It's still several hours until morning."
She let out a timely yawn and giggled a little. "Mmm, okay." She closed her eyes briefly, then opened them again. Ruffling his hair playfully, she asked, "Do you want to stay?" At his questioning look, she told him, "I'd like you to stay..."
He floundered for barely three seconds before nodding his agreement. Rose lifted the duvet up for him so that he could scoot in. She turned onto her side and smiled into her pillow as she felt the Doctor place his arm carefully around her waist and spoon up behind her.
He buried his face in her hair and inhaled deeply, before whispering close to her ear, "Goodnight, Rose Tyler."
When she woke up for the second time, she was flat on her back and staring up into the Doctor's eyes. She smiled in surprise that he was still there. Still very much there, in fact; he was leaning on his elbow, hovering slightly above her, and studying the features of her face not only with his intent gaze but with his fingertips, tracing over her cheekbones and brow and nose.
"Hello," he murmured with a smile. Her nose tickled a bit and she wrinkled her nose up. The Doctor insecurely took this the wrong way. "Oh, right, um...I should, sorry...I should probably..."
Rose stopped his nonsensical idea of getting out of bed by flinging her leg around his and dragging him back down. He chuckled and looked back at her in surprise. "Hello," she replied gently, earning a wide grin from him now.
"Hello," he said again, content in the knowledge she still wanted him right there.
"You said that already," she giggled.
"Did I? Well. Some things are worth saying more than once," he blustered.
"Thanks for staying last night."
"My pleasure," he replied.
They stared at one another for a few moments. Then Rose asked, "Did you sleep?"
"Not really," he answered.
"Then what did you do? You must have been bored –" she started, apologetically.
"How could I ever get bored looking at you?" he scoffed. His eyes widened when he realised what he'd said aloud. "That is, I mean, er, I...you make some very interesting expressions in your sleep, it's quite entertaining."
Rose laughed and wrapped her arm around his waist in half a hug. "What's for breakfast?" she mumbled into his chest.
His arm came around her waist also, holding her against him as he traced circles on her lower back with his thumb. "What do you fancy?" he asked, resting his chin on top of her head.
He could feel her lips move through the thin fabric of his shirt and suppressed a shiver when she replied, "Pancakes. And syrup. Lots and lots of syrup."
He grinned and pressed an imperceptible kiss to her hair before praising her for her choice. "Excellent idea. You going to let me go so I can make them?"
"Nah," she murmured. He swallowed hard when she casually pressed one of her legs between his, securing her most definitely snuggled into his side, diminishing any unnecessary space between them. "Comfy here."
He shifted downwards a foot, so that he could see her face to face. Their arms did not remove themselves from around the other, and their noses almost brushed, they were positioned so close. "I agree," he said softly.
"You like cuddling, then?" she grinned, tongue between teeth.
"I should think that's obvious. After all, that's what I keep you around for," he teased. "My personal cuddler, that's you. Or should that be cuddle-ee?"
"Teddy bear?" she offered.
He chuckled, the vibration of which she felt against her own chest. "Much better than a teddy bear," he disagreed.
"Of course. Teddy bears can't laugh at my jokes, can they?" he grinned.
"Funny," she allowed, arching her eyebrow.
"You love it." The Doctor spontaneously kissed her nose, and pretended he hadn't when her other eyebrow joined its friend at the top of her forehead. "What?" he asked nonchalantly.
"Nothing," she replied, bemused by his random display of affection. Her stomach rumbled loudly, then. "Think it's time for pancakes, now," she pondered thoughtfully.
He squeezed her tight once more before loosening his hold and shifting back from her, giving her room to get up. They both stood at the same time, from either side of the bed, and – unbeknownst to each other – they both simultaneously wondered if they had established their own 'sides of the bed' after just one night. They both also wondered why it felt natural in their mind to postulate other nights following the previous one in which he'd share her bed with her.
So natural, in fact, that they both suggested it that very evening...
14 hours later
"You know, Rose," he said, feigning nonchalance, at the same time as Rose said, "Doctor, I think we should – "
They giggled together at having started their sentences at the same time. They were currently sprawled together on the sofa in the library, Rose having migrated from her own end some time ago to now reside between the Doctor's legs as they read their books.
The Doctor haphazardly tossed his novel to the floor and then plucked hers out of her hands to do the same. Replacing her book with his hands in hers, he murmured, "You go first."
Her amused giggle turned into a nervous one, and she turned onto her front to stare up at him, resting her elbows on his chest to prop her head up. He closed his eyes briefly and distinctly ignored the visuals that were now popping up behind his eyelids about what her next move, if he were in heaven of course, would be. He imagined that it would take little to no effort for her to shift up a little further and press her lips to his. Rassilon, he'd simply settle for her to move her lips against his chest again, like she had done that morning.
"I was gonna say, would it be okay if...well, see, I'm thinking it's late now, right?"
"Eleven o'clock, your time. Time for bed?"
She bit her lip. "Yeah, I am quite tired. That okay?"
"Course it is," he replied. He hesitated. "Can I – " he began, just as she started to ask, "Can you – "
They stared at each other silently for a moment, mouths still half-open, before the Doctor surmised, "Repeat of last night?"
She smiled and nodded. "Yeah. That'll be great. Thanks."
He tickled her ribs. "You don't have to say thank you. I...well, I want to, er. Stay. With you. Just. Well. Just to make sure you're okay, of course."
"Of course," she grinned. She gathered herself to her feet and held out her hand, which he gratefully took and pulled himself up by.
They didn't really speak much on their way to her bedroom, but the occasional, playful bumps of shoulders and shared secret smiles said everything that was needed to be said during that short journey.
They shared a bed each night for the following two weeks. Completely innocent and normal and platonic and fine and really, there was nothing sexual about it in the least.
Until there was.
14 Days Later
It was nearly midnight. The Doctor was turned onto his side, telling Rose's back about the history of the planet they were going to visit the following day, and she was pretending to listen, lying on her stomach on her bed. The duvet was somewhere around their waists, and they were both in their pyjamas; the Doctor in blue, stripy, comfy ones and Rose in an altogether distracting vest top and shorts combo.
"So that's why, when the Karrachans wanted to invade, the Mellondeese started up the Mellon revolution. They wanted peace. They prepared this big sort of sorbet thing in the centre of town, and told everyone to gather their weaponry together to start a kind of unilateral disarmament, hoping it would prompt the Karrachans to go easy on them." The Doctor ran his fingertip down her spine distractedly as he spoke, causing her to shiver. He carried on talking, oblivious.
"Right," she announced firmly, interrupting him as she flipped onto her back. "We need to talk."
"We are talking!" he retorted in confusion.
"No, right now you're talking while I pretend to be listening. You also keep touching me and we need to get something very clear. Unless you want me to jump you – and yes, I mean in a sexual way," she added. His eyes promptly widened. "Then you really need to a) stop being so tactile with me and b) start sleeping in your own bed again."
She let out a long breath, somewhat relieved to have gotten that off her chest. But she winced when she met his gaze, an awkward silence descending upon the pair.
"I..." he floundered for words for a moment, then cleared his throat. "Let me get this straight - "
Rose cut him off with her hurried explanation, "The way you keep touching me and you being so close all the time keep making certain human needs arise within me." She paused and he blinked at her expectantly, so she continued, "So if you don't stop it, this stupid, turned on ape is gonna snog you senseless."
He stared at her. "You..." He gulped. "You're...turned on right now?"
She bit her lip in embarrassment. "Please let's not talk about that aspect of the situation."
"Why not?" he asked, a cheeky grin gradually making its way onto his face. "Seems to be quite an interesting aspect, from my personal opinion."
Rose rolled her eyes. "Yeah, right."
"What, you don't think I'm interested?"
"Interested in what?"
He ran his hand down her arm and traced a circle on her wrist with his thumb. "You. Or more specifically at this precise moment, your reactions to me."
"Reactions," she stated flatly.
"Yeah," he exhaled roughly.
She quickly shrugged out of his touch, shifting further onto her side of the bed. "Okay, hang on a second..."
He rolled onto his side, sharing her pillow. "Yeah?" he prompted, taking her hand in his again.
"You've travelled with a lot of young human women," she began, swallowing thickly.
"So?" he replied, confused.
"So...you've encountered this...er, line of conversation...before?"
He squinted at her, even more confused. "What do you mean?"
"Well, I've travelled with you for a long time now. That's a long time since I've..." She waggled her eyebrows meaningfully. "I assume others went through this...bout of frustration, so - "
The Doctor sat up straight. "Rose, I think...I think you've misunderstood something."
She sighed. "What's that, then?"
"I don't, I didn't – I mean, I haven't, before, with...I wouldn't have, ever - "
"Oh, I know that," she waved off dismissively. "That's what I mean, see. I know that we won't...you know. But with you constantly around, I can't even..." She blushed brightly and cleared her throat awkwardly. "I can't resolve the issue..."
His brows drew together worriedly. "Do you mean...uh - " It was his turn to blush, now. "With, with...someone else...?"
"No!" she cried out in alarm. "No, I just mean..."
"On your own," he finished for her, relieved.
"Yeah," she coughed uncomfortably, unable to meet his eye. "I mean, we're always together, so I don't get any time on my own anymore."
He shrugged, evidently unconcerned by this. "We both shower alone," he pointed out casually.
Her mouth opened then closed abruptly.
She turned her head to face him again. "Wait a second. Do you mean...Doctor, do you...?"
"Anyway," he deflected firmly, eager to return the subject back to her. "What I was going to say earlier is that you're mistaken if you think I've ever been in this situation before, or had a conversation even remotely like this with any previous friends of mine." He started to chuckle. "I assume that if any of them had encountered such a problem, they would've sorted it out amongst themselves, or while we visited a faraway planet – they'd've had no reason to consult me about the matter. And you know, I've had couples on board, too; but they didn't exactly stick a sign up. I s'pose it sort of just happened without me realising."
"Right," Rose replied, feeling a little light-headed.
He frowned. "You're not going to ask me to take you back, are you?" he asked her suddenly, sounding rather panicked.
"To Earth. Or anywhere, really. Compatible lot, you humans. But you don't...you don't want to find someone to -"
"Doctor!" she stopped him with a shout. "What kind of girl do you think I am?"
His eyebrows rose. "I'm just checking," he protested.
There was a pause wherein Rose realised something. "Hang on, why do you care so much, anyway?" she asked.
The Doctor rolled his eyes. "Don't be daft, Rose." He squeezed her hand tightly. "You know why."
"It's just..." She took in a deep breath. "Okay, I need to know something, Doctor." She paused again and he waited patiently for her to begin. "Me and you, yeah?" she started. "I get that we can't...that we won't...that you're a Time Lord, and you don't usually...do...anything...especially not with, um, humans, but..."
"But what?" he urged her to continue, his voice strangely low.
She abruptly realised that during that last speech of hers they'd both been edging closer, tilting their heads forward.
"B-but," she stammered, breathing heavily. He lifted his free hand and cupped her cheek gently, encouraging her to continue; but she struggled to finish her sentence. "Me – me and you – we've...we've got something special, right? Something...special. But. But are we ever going to – will it ever be possible that we might, one day - " She swallowed hard, watching him watch her mouth. She felt all dizzy again. "Basically, Doctor – if you're just messing around – "
But she didn't complete her sentence, and it was entirely his fault, because he closed the small remaining distance between them and kissed her. His hands found their way to her waist and he pulled her against him, keeping her close, and he smiled happily against her mouth when she started to kiss back.
He let go of her after a few minutes to let her breathe. "I'm not messing around," he assured her quietly, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear. "I...well." He cleared his throat nervously, playing with the hem of her top. "I want...I want something more, with you. If you want that. Do you want that? Because I don't just mean tonight, I mean...always. Do you think - "
"Okay, stop talking now," she told him, tongue touching the corner of her mouth as she grinned. She grabbed him by his pyjama shirt and tugged him closer again. "I want that too."
"Yeah?" he smiled hopefully.
"So our recent sleeping arrangement - "
"Will continue with one vital difference."
He beamed at her. "Oh yeah?"
"Yep." She pressed a quick kiss to his lips and then looked at him, her eyes bright and mischievous. "There will be a lot more nakedness."
"Sounds good to me," he chuckled, and kissed her again.