Chapter 6

It was a stone statue of a dog. But it wasn't just a normal dog that people were normally accustomed to. No, it was a dog…. Without a nose. The Doctor's lips spread into an enormous grin that crinkled the side of his eyes in delight and made his dimples appear. He threw his head back and an elated laughter erupted from within. Rose beamed at his reaction and giggled in response. She grinned so wide that her cheeks hurt. The Doctor wiped his eyes and gazed admiringly at the woman before him. He realized at the time when he mentioned Barcelona and the noseless dogs, Rose was not exactly in the happiest state.

She had just witnessed his ninth self explode with light like some sort of flamethrower and transform into a stranger. What a daft fool he was, rambling on about his body parts and going to a brand new planet while Rose hid behind the pillar; scared and shocked out of her mind. But his Rose never gave up on him. Sure she had her doubts but at the end, she came back to him as loyal as ever.

"Rose Tyler; you beautiful, brilliant, amazing human being" The Doctor embraced her with a giant hug and lifted her up in the air. She returned the hug by wrapping her arms around his neck and held on as she was swung around. Placing her back on her feet, he kissed the top of her head as both of them broke into happy chuckles.

Rose leaned back just enough to look into his face, "When I saw it, I knew it was a perfect present. I mean, what could I get for a Time Lord? Someone who can see anything in the whole entire universe?"

The Doctor shook his head, the grin simmered down to a smile of affection and honesty.

"You could have gotten anything for me and I would have cherished it."

They gazed at each other in a comfortable silence; neither of them had to speak to understand the bond between them. The Doctor realized that this moment felt real. Thinking back to the other Rose, he never felt the solidness of her in his arms. This is how Rose should feel like, not the false fantasy he had. The Doctor released Rose from his embrace and reached for his sonic screwdriver. Flicking it on, he scanned the noseless dog thoroughly but nothing came up alien according to his device.

"No you're right. This is just a statue made of stone." He held the dog in his hand and observed once more before putting it in his pocket. With the present given, Rose felt a weight she never even realized was there lift from her shoulders. She was back to her exuberant self.

"Well then, if that wasn't the problem. What was?"

The Doctor tapped his index finger against his lips as his thoughts drifted towards the other object she had bought.

"Could I see the lipstick you bought?"

Rose dug her hand into her pocket and brought out the sleek blue cylinder and handed it over to him. The Doctor took the lipstick and pulled off the cover. Twisting the bottom, the pink tube slid up from the sheath. Examining the product, he could see nothing unusual about it. He placed the lipstick under his nose and took a whiff. Tingles shot through his senses and momentarily blinded his vision.

"Woah!" he exclaimed, holding the lipstick an arm's length away from him. He rubbed his nose furiously, like action would extract the scent from his body. Rose looked strangely at him, not understanding what had just happened.

"Strong doses of psychedelic stimulants, a good mix of… psilocybin and mescaline." He blinked rapidly and shook his head in attempt to shake the stars from his eyes.

"Strong dose of what?" Rose asked, taking the lipstick from him and sniffed it herself. It smelled normal to her, like how normal lipstick smelled like.

"It's made of hallucinogens. This is a hallucinogenic lipstick. Whoever is kissed or tastes this, the chemicals seep through the taste buds and alters the victim's perception, mind, and consciousness. Cheap but effective."

Rose looked mystified as she stared at the tube of makeup product. She gasped as her hand flew to her mouth. She gawked at the Doctor with a horrified expression on her face.

"I tried some on! At the market! I wasn' sure it was the right shade of pink and seeing how my skin tone is similar to Mum's , I tried it on!"

The Doctor groaned in recognition and dragged his hands down his face, creating an amusing facial expression.

"That makes so much sense! The kiss from the mistletoe was before you left for your room. The lipstick must have taken affect only minutes after you left!" He flung himself around the control hub and laughed senselessly.

So there was the answer, the answer to his out of the ordinary experience. The whole Rose interaction was a figment of his imagination; an illusion! He literally had a thought taken from his mind and made into what he thought was reality. He stopped in his tracks and looked down at the ground unfocused. Out of all the hallucinations he could have had, he just had to have one with Rose Tyler in it didn't he? Did he really want that sort of relationship with her?

A relationship where he could take her into his arms and kiss her like the whole of time was ending. Where he could caress her face, touch her lips, run his hands through her golden locks. Where he could ignore the burden in his heart and just live a normal life. A relationship with no secrets or lies, just honesty and love. A relationship with someone that sees the good in him and makes him believe he's a better man.

He swallowed deeply, realizing everything in that hallucination was just what he hoped Rose would do with him. But hope and fantasy is sometimes the same thing aren't they?

"Plah, ppplaaahh!" Rose's voice brought him from his thoughts. She was rubbing her lips with the sleeves of her arms, trying to get any residue of the hallucinogenic lipstick off of her lips. A small sad smile appeared on the Doctor's face as he reached into his bigger-on- the- inside pockets and pulled out a white handkerchief. His strange quietness stopped Rose from continuing as he approached her. Her eyes were wide like a dog just caught doing something wrong by her owner. She watched him wet the tip of the handkerchief with his tongue before she felt his other hand gently tilt her head up from underneath her chin.

"You'll rub your lips off by doing that." He quietly murmured as he dabbed her red and swollen lips. Rose could scarcely breathe; acting like a deep breath would break this moment. He was so gentle with her, so tender and careful with his graceful hands. The same hands that could bring any monster down but in turn would hold her hand and make the world melt away. Rose looked up from his hands to his face and saw the Doctor lost in his thoughts. She could see that at this moment, his guarded front was down. The barriers he held up at any given time were laid down to rest. Because of this rare moment, she finally saw the extent of loneliness and the sadness seeping from his eyes. Of course she had seen glimpses of these moments, but they were brief and gone as quickly as they appeared. But this was different. This was the longest she was able to peer through the cracks in his armor.

And it made her heart ache and constrict with pain.

"Hey…" she said whispered, her hand capturing his. He slowly turned his unfocused eyes towards her face, a sad smile still on his face.

"Penny for your thought?"

The atmosphere was somber but words floated seamlessly through the air. Somewhere in the background, light music was still playing.

"I'm just…." He paused, watching Rose's thumb draw soft circles on his palm. Unwanted tears blurred his vision but he refused to let them fall. He sniffed loudly, and swallowed the lump in his throat. He let out a defeated and long sigh.

"I'm just a little… Tired. Tired of doubts and unrealistic expectations. I'm tired of being unable to save the people I want, to vanquish the enemies I have." His voice started to tremble.

"I'm just so tired of not having anything go my way. Is that so hard to ask? For all the things I've done, for all the lives I did save. Just to get something small, something that would seem so insignificant compared to the size of the universe."

Rose didn't know what to say. The broken man that was before her was bearing his weaknesses and torment to her, passing his burdens to someone that wasn't himself. But she couldn't say anything. Her mind was torn in so many directions; from wanting to hold him, or to kiss him, or to make a joke, or to cry. So instead of doing any of these actions, she stood there silently with a pain so great throbbing within.

The Doctor bowed his head, like the whole world was bearing its great weight on him. But the weight should be so familiar to him now shouldn't it? So many times, the lives of millions were in his hands. So many times, the existence of a country, a continent, a whole planet depended on whether he succeeded or not.

He raised his head suddenly, removed his hand from Rose's and turned away from her. He dug the both heels of his hands into his eyes and groaned again.

"Right… Never mind me Rose. Just some melodramatic drama queen I am. This will pass in a jiffy, like a nanogene in the wind." He started pulling at levers again, spinning odd pieces, and pushing random buttons.

"We'll have to go back to your home now. It should be Christmas now! I'm sorry about the lipstick, but I don't think you can give that to Jackie. Imagine the troubles she'll get…"

Rose had walked up behind him during his ramble and wrapped her arms around his waist. She buried her head into his back and held him tightly from behind. Her action stilled his movements and he leaned against the control hub with his hands supporting them from in front.

"You deserve it." She began, her voice was soft but he could hear her clearly.

" You deserve anything you want in the world. You deserve the endless thanks and gratitude. The universe should have everything go your way. You know why?" Rose firmly grabbed his waist and turned him around slowly until he faced her. His head was still bowed, his shaggy hair covering his eyes.

"Because Doctor, my Doctor. You, you take lives and make them better." She whispered, her hand brushing back the hair from his face. He jerked his head up and he looked into Rose's eyes with disbelief. She had used the same words he heard before. The same words that he had imagined Rose saying to him back in his hallucination. The words that he knew he had wanted someone to say to him one day but he hoped that Rose would be the one to tell him.

"The hell with any residues" he hissed as he held both sides of Rose's cheeks and kissed her deeply. Her scent overwhelmed his senses, her mouth and lips glided perfect against his. Rose wrapped her arms around his neck and he wrapped his arms around her waist. This kiss was real; this was the one that should have happened. Both of them poured all the pain and love into each other, their bodies pressed against each other without any space between them. The music in the background faded and the blissful silence wrapped around them. The Doctor's shoulders started to tremble and those trembles grew stronger until a tiny sob escaped from their locked lips. They broke apart, eyes closed and foreheads leaning against each other as Rose tried to catch her breath and the Doctor tried to stop the overwhelming feeling to breakdown.

"Thank you" he whispered hoarsely. "Thank you, thank you, thank you" he repeated over and over until Rose kissed him tenderly on his lips and silenced him. The kiss was quick but the meaning was understood.

They stayed in each other arms, his chin rested on top of her head as she laid her head against his chest; the thumps of his hearts creating a soothing rhythm.

"I thank the universe everyday that I met you Rose Tyler. I honestly wouldn't know where I would be without you." He murmured into his hair after some time, as he swayed them both in a light swinging motion. Rose's heart melted at his words and she smiled softly.

"Well, you would have been gobbled up by Nestene Consciousness or still running around London trying to find a giant circular transmitter."

The Doctor chuckled, the low rumble echoing in his chest and into her ears. She loved his laugh; it was one of the most beautiful things she had ever heard.

"Quite right too." He replied, a smile was also on his face now. He moved out of their embrace and took her hand firmly. He brought her hand to his lips and pressed a kiss upon the back of her hand before giving her one of his signature grins. She countered his with her own happy smile. He turned his attention back to the control as he pushed a lever and the TARDIS made its landing, for once without the bumpiness.

"Well, Christmas Day. Shall we go see your Mum and Mickey the Idiot?" Rose nodded and allowed the Doctor to lead her hand in hand out the TARDIS doors. The lights still twinkled within the TARDIS, the computerized snow still falling. The cheerful music drifted from within the TARDIS and graced the air outside with Christmas music. Rose Tyler held onto the Doctor's hand and leaned against his arm as she admired his face while they walked towards her Mum's place. She had never seen the Doctor so burden free and so happy before. The crinkles faded away and his face looked smooth and younger than before. The twinkle was back in his beautiful brown eyes and the smile he bared was genuine. He was like a new man, a new man that she still loved the same.

"So Doctor?" She asked, a thought still niggled at her brain.

"Hmmm?" He replied, his eyes focused on the door that they were approaching.

"You never told me what your hallucination was." Rose cheekily asked, her tongue peeked itself from behind her teeth as she grinned at him.

"Oi! Nothing! That was just between me, myself and I." He retorted but a flush rose to his cheeks, making them pink with embarrassment.

Rose Tyler laughed loudly as they entered into Powell Estate and just like that, everything was back in place.

AN: Well that's it! I hoped you enjoyed my story :D It was quite fun and a relief to finally get my idea out in words. I really appreciate the people who actually stuck by and read each chapter as it came out. You know who you are :') I'm not sure if I'll continue to write anything else. I might do maybe a little epilogue or an extra bit after my finals since Christmas will ACTUALLY be closer haha. Leave me a comment if you do want something like that?