Her Doctor Needs Her

Set post The Girl In The Fireplace.

"You alright?"

"I'm always alright."

She knows he's not, but she doesn't call him up on it, not in front of Mickey. She thinks it would be insensitive and quite rightly suspects that the Doctor would never open up to her with another there. But it worries Rose that he can be so far from alright and yet she's not sure why; she can usually read him like a book, always knows when he's upset and has seen him at his furthest from alright but for the first time she doesn't know what to say to help. For all she knows he fell for Reinette, or maybe it's because she fell for him, or maybe it's just because she's yet another one he couldn't save but she does know one thing; right now he needs her and when her Doctor needs her then her pain, distress and confusion don't matter.

So she goes to him, when Mickey's asleep in his new room, Rose goes to him and she sits with him. She doesn't say a word, just pulls him close and kisses his temple and he looks at her and says two little words. "I'm sorry." And she knows he is, she can see he is and she's desperate to ask the thousands of questions running through her head but she doesn't have the heart when he's looking at her like that. The look in his eyes melts her heart, she forgets the hurt and anger and the feeling of abandonment, she forgets the sorrow she'd felt for one long agonising moment because he's sorry, so truly sorry. It takes just one moment for his every emotion to be clear to her again and she can see exactly why she lost that clarity for a moment. Because he lost himself; he acted out of character and he's scared because he doesn't know why he did it and she can see him hating himself because he hurt her. Wiping the tears from her eyes, Rose smiles and softly kisses his forehead; she wants him to see that she's not hurt anymore, she forgives him and it's him that she's worried about. Tears flowing down his cheeks he clutches her to him, fingers gripping her clothes, arms shaking. "I'm sorry for what I put you through. I shouldn't have abandoned you like that. I promised you I would never do that and at the first opportunity I did just that."

"It's alright." Rose slips her arms around his middle, rubs his back and squeezes him tight, willing him to feel comforted.

"It's not alright, Rose." He sighs. "I abandoned you and the TARDIS to save her and I didn't even stop and think about you." Releasing her from his embrace he takes her hands and intertwines their fingers. "I'm so sorry; I didn't think I just acted and that, that me back there wasn't me, not the real me. I just…" He sighs again, gaze dropping the floor as he squeezes his eyes shut but Rose raises a hand to his face and tilts his chin up. "That wasn't me, Rose. I just don't know why I did it, it was out of character and I'll never do it again, I promise you; it's like I forgot who I was for one stupid moment and it was only once I'd lost you that I realised how stupid I'd been. And she showed me the way back to you, because she knew how much I missed you and regretted what I'd done and I couldn't even thank her."

Rose bites her lip, running her fingers through his hair. She worries that it was love that made him act on an impulse, she knows what love can do to your emotions, it can make you feel invincible but equally cloud your judgement when it comes to a chance to impress. Little does she know that she's right about everything when it comes to what love's made him feel and do, and he's fully aware that it's love but it's not in the way she fears. "You... did you love her?"

"What? No! Is that what you think?" His brow furrows. "No! Rose, I couldn't! It's not possible, couldn't be more impossible! How could I possibly love someone else when you already have both my hearts?" He watches her for a moment when he notices her expression change; he sees her studying him and wonders what she's thinking. Her heart rate increases, she feels her brow crease when she thinks she wants to be smiling, she thinks he just confessed to being in love with her but it was so indirect and spoken so casually that she doubts it meant as much as she's reading into it. She relaxes and smiles, nodding a little, willing him to just continue before her racing heart gives up. "Rose I promise you I didn't love her, not even a little; she loved me, when she looked into my mind she fell for me without really knowing me. She put her faith in me and trusted me because I promised to save her and I didn't want to break that promise. But I risked losing you, the most important thing to me, and I was standing there looking out at the stars and thinking of you and she knew that I didn't love her; she knew I missed you and she gave me a way back. I wanted to thank her for that, for bringing me back to you and show her the stars like she wanted. But I couldn't and in the end I didn't save her, not really."

"I'm sorry."

"No, Rose, I'm sorry. I hurt you so much, and me hiding away and shutting myself off from you only made it worse. Forgive me, Rose." He squeezes her hands, tears pricking his eyes and threatening to overflow. "Please."

She smiles. "I do, I forgive you."

"Thank you." He's not entirely sure what possesses him to press his forehead against hers but he does. "I need you, Rose Tyler."

"My Doctor." She whispers the words against his lips and hopes that if she's right in thinking he just confessed to loving her then he'll show her how he feels and kiss her.

Instead he withdraws, but only a little, wrapping her in his arms and cuddling her against his chest so she can hear his racing hearts. "You'll always be able to see right into my hearts, Rose, always have." She feels him squeeze her tighter and hopes that she's some comfort. "I know I confused you but that doesn't mean you didn't understand me; I was confused and lost and scared and you made it better, just like you always do." When he presses the pad of his thumb to her cheek Rose realises she's been crying, she rests her head in the crook of his neck and breaths in the smell of her Doctor. "It's not her; it's not anyone else because it's you. It's always been you."

A/N: This (as part of my head canon) ties in with another of my fics titled Indescribably Beautiful, emotions and suspicions of love etc building up to it.