Let Me Hold You Through the Night

He steps quietly into the bedroom and leans against the doorframe, his arms folded and a gentle smile on his lips as he watches her sleeping. She's completely still, lying on her side, and he can't see her face for her hair is swept across it messily. The chocolate brown duvet covers most of her body, but her exposed shoulders tell him she's naked beneath it. She often slipped into bed without wearing pyjamas, he remembers, if she was especially tired after a fun, lengthy adventure and couldn't be bothered to get changed.

His hearts ache that he'll not have an extended period of time with her anymore. Just these little snatches of moments, moments he lives for, cherishes, thanks her that he gets, but moments that are still not enough.

He knows he was out awhile, on this particular occasion. Recognising how knackered she was after a day filled with running around and learning how to play Stafaflae (a sport native to the planet Bourbengi; it's basically tennis, except with wings and dragon-creatures and balls made of frozen yoghurt), he'd told her to go back to the TARDIS and wait for him in bed, while he went to look for something he desperately needed. The search for said thing ended up taking an awfully long time.

It was a very special thing, after all.

So special that after obtaining it, he'd been saving it for a special occasion. So special that all the many times they had together that could have qualified as special occasions weren't even special enough, and that's saying something.

Consequently, he'd taken so long deliberating over whether each fantastic day was the best fantastic day, that he'd never gotten around to giving her his very special present.

The Doctor swallows thickly as he thinks about it. He uncrosses his arms and slips his hand into his pocket, his fingertips brushing against the velvet box that's worked its way from a brown pinstriped jacket to a blue pinstriped jacket (and really, he should've left it in that one, so that the Other could give it to her; but he was too selfish for that. It comforts him, having it here, resting inside his pocket, as if he'll still get the chance to give it to her one day. Yeah. As if.) to a tweed jacket.

And whenever his hand is in his pocket, his fingers always seem to enclose around that small little velvet box, in spite of the transdimensional nature of said pocket that allows a large number of things to be kept inside.

His eyes are still fixed on her as she shifts slightly, flinging her arm out, the duvet uncovering a glimpse of left breast. The Doctor grins; how could he resist that?

He takes off his jacket and unties his bowtie as he steps towards the bed.

-x-

Rose stirs, feeling a cool arm wrap itself around her waist and a naked torso press against her back, against her own bare skin. She snuggles back into him, and his leg slips between hers. She extends her arm backwards and slips her hand into his hair, combing through it with her fingers. She smiles.

"It's you," she whispers. "Future you, I mean."

"How can you tell?" he murmurs in a low voice, nipping her earlobe playfully.

"Mmm, you feel different," she explains sleepily.

"Good different?" he teases.

"Just different," she grins, turning over to face him. She opens her eyes for the first time. "How long?"

"All night," he tells her, lifting his hand to stroke her hair behind her ear tenderly.

"You promised you wouldn't be long," she admonishes with an arched eyebrow.

"Well, it takes longer than I expected," he whispers. "To find the perfect thing."

She yawns and burrows her head into his chest, mumbling, "What was it, then? That you were looking for?"

He exhales roughly, and it blows against strands of her hair. "Oh, well, that would be telling."

He feels her smirk against his the hollow of his throat as she presses a kiss there. "Is it a TARDIS part? Or a present? For me?"

He chuckles, and wraps his arms right around her, pulling her with him as he shifts onto his back so she ends up sprawled over him. "Nope. It's a present for me," he replies softly.

"Do I get to see it?"

"Nope," he grins, pressing a kiss to the top of her head.

"'Kay," she accepts. He hears her breathing slow and knows she's fallen back to sleep.

He sighs contentedly. This is what he comes back for. To feel her in his arms. Skin to skin. Her heart beating above both of his.

It's the most intimate thing two people can do, really, when you think about it, and he wishes that he could hold her through the night every single night.

Still, these snatches of moments mean so much to him. And he knows, in his hearts, that his presence with her means much more to her than any present he could've given her would. And that – that makes him smile.

He stays awake all night to listen to her breathing, to feel her heart beat steadily against his chest, to feel her warm breath tickle his skin. And oh, how he loves her, even now.