Don't own Doctor Who, any of the characters or the quotes.

Set during/after The Girl in the Fireplace because that episode needed to have some Doctor/Rose love in it somewhere.

The Girl in the TARDIS

Rose waited alone, Mickey having stormed off into the TARDIS hours ago.

But she had stayed. She would stay as long it took for him to return.

He's not coming back,a snide voice whispered, tendrils of fear curling themselves around her heart, causing her stomach to lurch unpleasantly. He's left you all alone, he's not coming back. Why would he stay? What can you offer him that she can't?

Rose shook her head, her breath coming sharply.

He wouldn't leave the TARDIS willingly, she told herself, not unless there was no other way.

Maybe losing the TARDIS was worth losing you as well.

Rose closed her eyes, tears she had been fighting for what seemed like ages finally bursting through.

What would they do now? She was sure the TARDIS would take both her and Mickey home but she wasn't so sure that she wanted to go home. There was nothing there for her now, just a mundane existence of getting up, going to work, coming home and then sleeping. She couldn't live like that, not anymore; it would drive her mad. It made her skin itch just thinking about it.

A much larger, more pressing, far more painful thought slipped into her mind.

She would never see the Doctor again.

Yeah, he could probably live through all those years but she highly doubted that he'd come looking for her when it was finally time.

Rose would leave the TARDIS for him though; ask her to stay somewhere he could find her easily.

And Rose…well she would stay alone. There was no way she was moving back in that flat with Jackie, definitely not moving in with Mickey.

She'd travel. Yeah, that'd be a good thing to do. See the world, meet new people, exactly what she did now.

What she did then.

So maybe it would just be Earth. Maybe the most exotic people she would ever meet would be cannibals in some jungle in the back of beyond. The only major difference would be that she'd be on her own.

Never mind that now, she told herself firmly. He'll be back soon. He'll be back.

And so she waited, never moving, never resting. Just waiting.

He wondered if she'd left yet. He wondered if she was angry, happy, sad.

He wondered if she was missing him as much as he was missing her.

He deserved a Jackie-slap for this, he thought blankly, glancing around the crowded hall. A few ladies passed him, glancing confusedly at his attire before moving on swiftly.

"The Doctor does not seem happy mingling with us lower humans," said an amused voice.

The Doctor turned slowly, smiling as he met Reinette's glittering eyes.

"Just soaking it all in," he said easily, locking away his thoughts of Rose. "Getting ready for my grand life of royal parties and French wine."

"It can grow rather…tedious after a while," she said with a smirk, her gaze never leaving his face.

He smiled nervously and took a gulp of wine.

"If you are as bored as you look, I can show you the gardens if you like. The rose garden in particular is very beautiful at this time of year and-"

The Doctor spluttered, wine spraying out of his mouth, soaking both him and Reinette, who stepped back quickly, already laughing.

"No roses," he gasped. "Please don't make me see roses."

Reinette raised one eyebrow, silently questioning him. He turned away, his shoulders stiff.

She hated roses anyway, he told himself as he hurriedly made his way up the majestic staircase; don't know why it would bother me.

But he knew that if he saw a pink or yellow rose out there in that garden, it would break both of his hearts forever.

Rose sat in her bedroom on board the TARDIS, staring at nothing in particular. She knew that soon the tears would come again, and she was dreading the moment for she knew once they started they would be hard to stop.

She knew deep down-buried beneath her happiness to follow the Doctor into awaiting adventures and her love for him-she didn't deserve to be treated the way the Doctor treated her.

But he was different. He deserved leeway. He was the Doctor. He wasn't human. He didn't do domestic.

It was as Rose defended her decision to stay with these reasons that the tears finally started to fall.

She was a young, heartbroken girl so very far from home and she'd been abandoned. All his claims that she was different, that he wouldn't leave her had flown out the window. She always knew she was nothing special, especially when stood beside the Doctor but this just hammered it home. She was certainly nothing compared to Reinette.

The Doctor had returned, hugging and smiling, and like the lovesick fool she was she let it go, allowing herself just to be happy he had returned.

Rose thought briefly about what would have happened if Reinette had come with them before shoving it away as her chest clenched in pain.

"Rose?" a voice asked through the door, "You alright?"

"Go away, Mickey," she said raggedly, silently asking the TARDIS to bolt the door. She did so immediately.

"Thank you," Rose whispered, resting her hand against the wall. The TARDIS hummed in response as Rose lay down and pulled the covers above her head, trying to ignore Mickey pounding on her door.

In the console room the Doctor frowned, having felt Rose's connection with the TARDIS. No one but him should be able to talk to the TARDIS, ask her to do things and it scared him silly. Did some part of her still contain the Bad Wolf or was she just in the heart of the TARDIS anyway?

Reminding himself to have a talk with Rose tomorrow, the Doctor started fiddling with a fixed-but-still-rather-broken-looking piece of the TARDIS, his mind on something completely different.

The Doctor loved Reinette. No matter how much he lied to himself, he loved her. However, he realised with relief, it was a fleeting, spur of the moment kind of love. Not true love, in no way was it true love. Not that he believed in true love. But still. Principle and all that. But he knew why he'd let himself fall for her.

Because of one Miss Rose Tyler. Everything he did lately was to distract himself from the overwhelming lo-feelings he had for her; bringing Mickey, snogging Madame de Pompadour, asking said Madame to come along…the list was endless. And he should know; he made it before Mickey the Idiot joined them.

In his heart of hearts the Doctor knew he was being a coward and he hated himself for it. He pretended not to see the hurt looks Rose gave him whenever he shunned her or changed the subject, though in reality they were killing him.

He was constantly hurting her, always the first to pull away or avoid the uneasy questions. He was his own worst enemy.

Hearing footsteps, the Doctor looked up eagerly, his hearts thudding in anticipation of seeing Rose.

"Oh," he said flatly, "It's you."

Mickey scowled. "Why am I public enemy number one today? First Rose, then you," he muttered.

The Doctor looked at him sharply. "What did Rose do?"

Mickey snorted. "Locked the door on me. I was only trying to check she was alright, I could tell she was crying but she just locked the door. This is so messed up, it's-"

"Rose is crying? Why?"

"Why d'you think, Romeo?"

The Doctor felt his chest constrict.

"What?" he asked rather hoarsely. Mickey rolled his eyes.

"You and Madame de Pompadour. She's upset about it. Made her feel like shit again, have you?"

"Watch it, Mickey, or you'll be off this ship faster than you can say 'banana'," the Doctor said darkly.

"Why? Because I'm telling you the truth? You deserve to hear it. You didn't see her face when you smashed that window and got stuck! You didn't hear her asking the TARDIS if there was any way she could get to you! You weren't here when she sat outside for five and a half hours waiting for you to come back! And you definitely didn't say anything even though you knew what you'd put her through!" Mickey yelled, his anger and jealously bleeding through.

The Doctor stared in horror. Mickey went in for the proverbial kill.

"You don't deserve her. You may have made her life so much better and brainwashed her into thinking she likes it like this but you're destroying her. You're taking everything good about her and twisting it. She's losing parts of herself because of you."

Satisfied that he'd made the Doctor feel as crap as he did, Mickey left, stomping away to his room.

"Is it true?" the Doctor whispered to the TARDIS. She hummed a gentle affirmative.

He put his head in his hands, hot tears burning their way down his cheeks. Without thinking, he ran to Rose's room.

He knocked gently on her door and said softly, "Rose?"

He heard a muffled, "Oh God."

"Rose, let me in."

"I'm-I'm tired. I'll talk to you tomorrow."

"No, we need to talk now."

"For once, Doctor, let me decide when we talk," she said coldly.

The Doctor recoiled as though she'd slapped him. Mickey the Idiot was so right. Rose was warm and cuddly and so human it hurt. She didn't snap or speak icily. But he had made her like this; he'd turned her into this.

"Please, Rose…it's important."

Silence.

A few erratic heartbeats later, her door opened slowly, but only so that he could see one side of her face but that was enough to make his hearts break even more. Her eye was puffy and red, her cheek blotchy, and her carefully applied make up was smeared.

The worst was looking at her and knowing he'd caused it.

"You invited her to come with us," Rose said quietly, watching the Doctor warily as he messed with his tie.

"With me, yeah," he replied lightly, deliberately keeping his gaze on the door in front of him.

Rose tried to ignore the hurt building in her chest.

"You would've messed the timeline up just so you could take your new girlfriend out on a date?" she asked, her voice sharper than she meant it to be.

"Don't," he warned in a low voice.

"What? Am I hurting your feelings, Doctor? Am I making you feel bad?" she said in a mocking voice.

Oh my God, shut up, shut up, shut up! she told herself harshly, wondering when she'd lost control of her mouth.

"Rose, will you please just listen to me?" the Doctor pleaded, staring at Rose with sorrowful eyes.

"You left me!" she screamed, tears suddenly pouring down her cheeks, her breath almost choking her. "You left me here!"

"Rose, please," he said huskily, once again close to tears himself at her complete lack of control, at the hurt on her face.

The hurt he'd put there.

"Why, Doctor? I'm tired, please just let me sleep. I'll see you later, ok?"

"No, not ok. We need to talk. Now."

Her gaze turned icy, her mouth twisting.

"Try coming back in five and a half hours. Maybe I'll feel like talking to you then," she snarled, slamming the door shut before collapsing against it, holding her head in her hands.

"Rose! Rose, I'm not going anywhere. So help me if I have to talk to you through a door, I will!" the Doctor called, banging his fist against the wood.

It was silent, the only sound being his heartbeats, his rushed breaths before finally-finally-she spoke.

"I can't do this anymore," she said quietly, her voice muffled by the door but still audible.

The Doctor rested his hand against the door, sliding down to sit on the floor and lean his cheek against it, feeling Rose on the other side.

"You're leaving?" he whispered, fear coiling in his stomach.

On the opposite side, Rose bit her lip, tears leaking from her eyes.

"I don't know if I can stay."

"But…why? We're friends, we have fun, we go to places no one else could ever go to and-"

"And I always get left behind, Doctor. You-you'd be better off without me," Rose said shakily, wiping at her tears even though he couldn't see her.

He hated it when she cried; she thought it was because he didn't like to see people showing weakness. In reality it was because it made him want to hug her forever. And he couldn't do that; she'd get the wrong idea, a wrong idea that could be so perfectly right.

"Don't ever think that," the Doctor said fiercely, his love for her bursting through all the walls he'd built around it. "I need you more than anything in this world, even in this universe. In fact, in every universe ever there is nothing that I want or need more than you, Rose Tyler, and don't you ever forget it."

"Please," she said softly, her heart breaking at what she wished he meant.

Say it, she told herself sadly. Just three words.

But fear stilled her tongue.

"Rose, I mean it. You have to believe me."

"I don't know if I can," she cried, reaching out with her hand to touch the door behind her, pretending that she could feel the Doctor's hand in hers through the wood.

"Rose, I-"

"Don't say something you'll regret later," Rose warned, though internally she was screaming at herself for interrupting him.

He sighed, running his hands through his hair.

"I don't want to make you feel like this anymore," he said sadly.

"But you don't care who you hurt, do you? 'Cause you're the Doctor. As long as you're alright no one else matters."

"I do everything I can to help the people I meet, to stop dangerous things happening, to save entire worlds-" he started hotly.

"I'm not talking about stuff like that!" Rose cried, her hand on the door trembling.

"Rose," he said in a soft voice, a beautiful voice that only made her love him more when all she wanted in that moment was to hate him, to be strong enough to leave him and not regret it. "I never meant to hurt you. Everything I've done to you, leaving you here, going with…her, it was never about you."

Oh but it was. It had everything to do with her.

She just couldn't know that.

Rose froze, her mind throwing up images of the one person she never wanted to see again.

But you and I know—don't we, Rose?—the Doctor is worth the monsters.

One may tolerate a world of demons for the sake of an angel.

It happened, child.

"It happened," Rose said quietly. "And I'll get over it. It'll hurt me and I'll be sad about it and then I'll move on, or at least try to, and we'll go on like we always do."

"Rose, don't. I don't want that to happen. I want-"

"What, Doctor? What do you want?" she said softly.

I want you. I want you so badly it hurts because I love you.

"I want you to come outside and then I can say I'm sorry and give you a big hug," he said brightly, jumping to his feet.

Coward, his mind whispered.

The TARDIS hummed in agreement.

Hesitantly, Rose stood, opening her door.

Before she could speak the Doctor flew forward, crushing her body to his, murmuring in her ear.

He pulled back, holding her hands in his, tears in his eyes.

"I'm sorry," he whispered. "I'm so sorry."

"I know," Rose said softly, moving one of her hands, wiping a stray tear from his cheek.

He closed his eyes at her touch.

I love you, he thought sadly, wishing he could say it to her properly.

I love you, she thought, pulling away from him, her hands already missing his touch.

As they walked towards the console room, their hands tightly holding one another, the Doctor mused silently, his thoughts focused on the girl following behind him.

Forget about thegirl in the fireplace, he told himself strongly, there's a girl right here, the girl in the TARDIS waiting for you, always there, always ready to run. And she is your true love, whether you believe it or not.

But still he did nothing. And then finally, it was too late.

The universe had given him an opportunity to be with her and he'd ignored it time and time again, relying too much upon the consequences. And so the universe had taken her away, locked her in a place he could never reach.

Now he finally allowed himself to think of her, once again alone in his TARDIS, he regretted his actions and his foolishness and his morals. Because the Doctor loved Rose Tyler, just as Rose Tyler loved the Doctor…and it had been him that had prevented their happiness.

He realised that it would have been better to have loved her openly and lost her than to have pushed away his feelings; Rose-his beautiful, pink and yellow human Rose-had suffered because of him.

And so he deserved everything that came to him because of that.

Forever.