My very first Doctor Who fanfic! I have fallen so absolutely in love with the Doctor and Rose Tyler that writing fanfics about them was really inevitable. It really didn't go the way I planned but sometimes characters write themselves I just sort of follow it the best I can. Many thanks to YaoiNekoHaruna for beta reading for me! I hope you enjoy.

The Doctor groaned as he very slowly journeyed back toward consciousness. He arched his back against his oddly cradled position and rolled his head to the side in effort to stretch the tensed muscles in his neck. His muscles ached, the soreness in the side of his neck becoming the center of his dulled attention. The numbness of his mind followed close behind in his concerns, but the buzz in his brain prevented him from assessing his condition properly. What had happened? What was happening?

"Alright, Doctor?"

The voice was familiar and comforting. Rose. She was close, quite close when he thought of it. Skin. His face was smushed against the bare skin of her arm by the pressure cradling around his back.

"Yeah," he responded hoarsely.

"You sure?" She sounded far more coherent than him. A light draft passed over his shoulder and he realized he wasn't wearing a shirt... or trousers. He was still wearing underpants; that was a small relief. After taking a rejuvenating breath he decided that it was time to open his eyes and evaluate his position properly.

"I'm fine," the Doctor answered, remembering that Rose had asked him a second time. He squinted against the light and his eyebrows immediately rose in shock when his sight was filled with the exposed skin of his companion. Rose was dressed in only a pale blue cotton bra and matching knickers. What was more, his bare chest was flush against her side, with their legs entangled at the ankles. A hammock. They were sharing a hammock made of material resembling tightly woven cotton.

"Where are we?"

"You know, Doctor, when you offered to show me all of time and space, I didn't think we'd be touring so many prisons." She sounded slightly exasperated, but still amused.


"Yeah, on some planet in the Fostrix Galaxy. You assured me that you knew where we were, but I have a great suspicion that you haven't a clue." She sounded smug as she made the accusation. Before he could make his offended retort, she reminded him of her unperturbed attitude with her optimism. "As far as prisons go, I think this is my favorite yet. Not only do they group inmates by species rather than gender - I still have nightmares of the prisoners I was grouped with on Corgis - it's clean and this hammock is actually comfortable... sort of. Of course, they did drug us and take most of our clothes. That was a bit of a rude greeting."

"Fostrix Galaxy..." the Doctor muttered to himself as he sat up to have a better look. The room was completely square and empty of all but the hammock which hung approximately a meter from the ground. Not a pleasant height to fall from, but the hammock cradled them similarly to a cocoon. The walls, floor, and ceiling were all made of shiny white brick. The only lighting was from four small circles built into the high ceiling, but the reflective white walls made it bright to the point of discomfort.

"Alright," the Doctor spoke clearly, "in response to your small monologue, I would first like to express my offence to your comment on grouping by species. As fond as I am of humans, I'm insulted to be referred to as one when I'm not."

"But unless they examined you thoroughly, they probably categorized you as such. You look like a human, walk like a human, and talk like a human. Simple deduction would-"

"Stop there. I don't look human, humans look Time Lord. We were around much longer than-"

"I won't argue that fact," Rose interrupted his interruption, "but humans are scattered over the universe while you are a legend, Time Lord."

The Doctor still felt the right to be offended, but the playful, endearing grin Rose gave him caused him to smile in return. Their light-hearted banter was what kept her in good humor; without it, she might become anxious.

"Drugged," The Doctor spoke to himself as he rubbed the knot in his neck. It was the only thing he remembered - walking through the trees and feeling a sharp pain in his neck. "They drugged you, too?"

"Yeah," she affirmed as she swept her golden hair back to reveal the bruise and injection site at her collar.

"Did you get a look at them?"

"Briefly. They're reptilian. Biped and have two arms, I think. The injections were done by a gun-like device pressed against the skin. They were clothed in coveralls. It's all I saw before I passed out myself." Rose answered with a shrug, feeling that her description wasn't as complete as it could have been but still decent. The Doctor nodded but Rose could tell that he didn't know what they were dealing with. He just couldn't do it; to admit that he wasn't familiar with the planet would somehow hurt his pride.

"Are you sure this is a prison?" he asked as he looked around skeptically.

"Well, I guess I just assumed," Rose admitted as she nibbled her lip anxiously.

"It's a good guess, but remember that it's a dangerous habit to assume with confidence," he uttered offhandedly. "It's definitely clean and quite empty. High class prison, perhaps, but it's not just clean, it's sterile. Add the facts that we were drugged, partially stripped, and are radiating with unnatural levels of pheromones and I'd guess that we're not prisoners so much as lab rats that were caught in the wild."

"What?" Rose exclaimed, panic washing over her features. "Lab rats? We're lab rats? And what do you mean 'radiating with pheromones'?"

"Pheromones are-"

"I know what pheromones are! I mean, do you mean sex pheromones?" As outraged as she was, she still lowered her voice in embarrassment at the word "sex".

"Yep," the Doctor affirmed, popping the "p" at the end of the short answer.

"Th-they mean us to... to..."

"Mate, yes." He scanned the ceiling as he laid back down on his back. Rose struggled not to roll onto her side against him but the curve of the hammock made it nearly impossible for both of them to lie on their backs. Her heart beat wildly in her chest and she was sure that he must feel it against his arm. It was true that the two travel partners were rather flirty with one another and Rose quietly harbored deep feelings for him, but it was taboo; forbidden territory. The expectation of their captors was frightening to her.

"Well, they're pretty rubbish scientists if they don't know that we're different species, yeah?" she pointed out with a nervous chuckle. "I mean, human pheromones probably don't even work on you, right?"

"That could be the experiment right there. Our DNA is similar yet not. They might be experimenting to see if we have the ability to create hybrid offspring," The Doctor stated in his normal, unaffected tone. "And, yes, human pheromones do affect me."

"Yet none of this bothers you?" Rose chuckled nervously again. She could vaguely smell her own scent in the air so she knew that he most certainly could.

"Of course I'm disturbed by it, but it's not like we're going to act as they intend. We're far from scent-driven beasts, and I think it's about time we tell them so." The Doctor maneuvered himself out of the swinging hammock, careful not to upset it. With his body removed, Rose's weight pulled her to the center. Given personal space for the first time in an unknown span of hours, she breathed deeply in relief. Oddly enough, she thought she might have preferred a prison.

"Hello!" the Doctor called loudly toward the ceiling. "I know someone out there is monitoring us. I'd really like a word with you." He waited a moment for a reply, but when it didn't come, he continued. "We are sentient, developed beings. I'm speaking your language so I know that you understand me. I wish to speak to someone." The Doctor stayed planted in the center of the room and scratched his brow as he scanned the walls for a possible sign of a door. "I'm trying hard to be patient and cordial, but I really dislike being treated as a mindless beast. I demand to speak to my captors."

"Doctor," Rose whispered as she peeked over the side of the hammock. "If you're not familiar with this planet and its people, are you sure the TARDIS can translate the language?"

"Certain," he answered without even a hint of doubt. "The TARDIS knows far more than I ever could. They can hear me. They just don't want to respond." He ruffled his hair as he ran his fingers back through it, his hand moving to rub his chin as he considered their position.

Rose watched him hopefully. That mind of his very rarely let them down and she was counting on it now. Her eyes unwittingly raked down his form as he stood in the open. She had never before seen him in such a state: his thin frame, patch of chest hair... Her eyes, even in her bold, carnal review, moved directly from his navel to his lean yet muscular legs. As soon as she praised herself for being polite enough not to look at his more private areas, her curiosity got the better of her and her gaze leapt to his sage green briefs. As soon as she did, she recognized his scent in the air and all but threw herself back into the cradle of the hammock. He hadn't seen her looking but she had never felt so humiliated in her life. She wasn't a mindless beast run by hormones, but a girl fighting an already firm attraction to the all but naked man standing not a meter away from her.

Rose blew out a deep breath in quiet frustration and the Doctor's eyes locked onto her. The hanging bed was still but for a tiny movement, but he recognized it. She was folding her arms across her chest in a self-protective position, fighting against the feeling of vulnerability squirming inside her.

Tightening his fists and nostrils flaring, the Doctor stared fiercely at the ceiling. "I've had enough! I demand to speak to someone! We will not be treated like-"

His words fell away, as did his fury, when the ceiling began to slide open. He and Rose stared up at the ceiling in surprise and narrowed their eyes in attempt to see what stood in the dim lighting above them.

"Doctor?" Rose whimpered in indefinable question. She held herself tighter and pulled her knees up toward her chest in effort to hide her exposed flesh from the reptilian creatures looking down from above.

"Well, Rose," the Doctor spoke on an exhaled sigh. "I'd like to rescind my last guess. I don't think we're lab rats, I believe we're an exhibition."

"Oh god, we're zoo animals." Despite her frustration and a flare of indignity, she began to laugh with incredulity.

To be sure he heard her properly, the Doctor approached the hammock and pulled down the side to have a look at his dear companion. He returned her smile and shared a small laugh, but his heart sunk when he caught the worry in her eye.

"We're going to get out of here at some point. You know that, don't you?" he asked softly, gently running the back of one finger down her cheek. She shivered in response and he pulled away guiltily. Hormones were far too high to allow any physical contact.

"Yeah. Of course," she assured him. "We always get out of these things."

"You say that, but-"

"Come on, Doctor, a girl should be allowed a few minutes of self-pity in a humiliating situation such as this, don't you think? I know we'll get out, but that doesn't stop me from imagining what it would be like if we couldn't. My moment is done. What are we gonna do?"

He was silent longer than he intended. He wanted to have a brilliant idea immediately at hand, but he didn't have one just yet. Instead he took to speaking his observations aloud. "Well, it appears that the room is sound-proof. They're obviously speaking - and pointing- but I can't hear a single thing."

"We're being monitored by the... zookeepers, right?"

"Definitely. They're just ignoring me. I have a feeling that this is against their government laws to keep us because, rather than highlighting our intelligence, they've classified us as 'Primitive Primates' from the 'Sol System of Galaxia Kuklos'."

"Okay, they know where Earth is located, so how can they get away with calling us primitive primates?" Rose asked incredulously. "You are absolutely allowed to be offended by your 'classification' now."

"As are you," he returned. "I think it's the time period. It's the 42nd century in Earth history, and while intergalactic travel is pretty common for humans, this is quite a long way off. I highly doubt humans have come anywhere close to this galaxy yet. I commend our captors for even knowing the term 'primate'."

"They're holding developed beings - us- against our will. You don't commend them," Rose huffed. "Do you recognize them at all?"

"Well, judging by looks alone, they could be distant relatives of the Hazrian…and when I say distant, I mean three whole galaxies over. They also look a bit more...cultured? The Hazrian were an extremely vicious race, but to be fair, humans are also known as extremely vicious."

"Really?" Rose leaned back in the hammock and squinted in effort to read information panel that accompanied their exhibit. "You know, if you look at our history and reactions to potential threats, I guess maybe we are. You don't think of humans that way though, do you, Doctor?"

The Doctor didn't respond and Rose flushed when she saw the way he was staring at her, his eyes following the curves of her body. Her chest began to heave at the lust she saw in his eyes. It hurt. How often she secretly hoped he would look at her in such a way, but not like this, not under these circumstances.

"Doctor?" she repeated quietly, averting her gaze the second he caught himself.

"No, of course not," he answered belatedly. "Individuals, yes, but humans can also be some of the most compassionate people in the universe. It just depends. This isn't the time for such discussions though. We have to figure out how we're getting out of here. If I had my sonic screwdriver... however, I don't, so no use following that. We're going to have to get creative."

"We're an exhibit, yeah? A new one, so probably featured?"

"It's a pretty safe assumption. You've got an idea, haven't you?" The Doctor's smile caught her off guard and she had to mentally shake herself to re-grasp her train of thought.

"Well, apart from education, zoos are all about money-making. We're a highlight - entertainment - which also explains why they want us to mate. It would interest patrons, but an exhibit with babies also pulls a big crowd. They want us to entertain."

The Doctor nodded for her to keep going.

"What's more disappointing to patrons than going to the zoo and all the animals you want to see are hiding out of sight?"

The Doctor wore his largest grin, the one that shined with pride and her smile grew to match his. "Rose Tyler, you and I are about to become the most boring creatures on this planet."

"I never thought I'd hear you say that."

He chuckled and looked around the room. "Do you have a preferred corner? Or there's the hammock. The sides wrap up around us enough that even looking straight down, they'd hardly catch a glimpse."

"Erm... your call." Rose tried to sound casual but wasn't sure if it came across as such. In her current state of hormonal turbulence, she knew that being too close to him at all would be difficult, but which was worse - the corner or the hammock?

"Well..." The Doctor pursed his lips and anxiously rubbed the back of his neck. It seemed to Rose that he understood the situation, but he didn't seem even half as affected as her. Her heart ached when she wondered if he was actually unaffected by her and only afraid she might act on her obvious weakness. And it was obvious. It had to be.

"Well... it'll have to be the hammock, I think. The hard floor would get too uncomfortable quite quickly. So... what do you say? Would it be alright if I...?" He pointed in the hammock at the spot next to her. She nodded her consent and moved cautiously as he joined her in the close confines. With a defiant grin, the Doctor pulled the sides of the hammock as high as they would stretch, leaving only a hand's width gap for their audience to see into. As far up as the observers were, they'd be lucky to see even an inch of skin.

"There... now we just have to be still and we'll bore the pants off of everyone, which hopefully will mean some kind of response from our 'keepers'," he said optimistically.

Rose nodded again.

"Are you okay?" Doctor worried.

When she nodded again without verbal assent, the Doctor's brow creased with deep concern.

"Rose," he insisted firmly.

"I'm more aroused than I've ever been and I'm pressed against you, legs tangled, and arms tangled between us. I'm just trying to pretend you don't exist... that alright?" came her response, accompanied by a forced smile.

The Doctor swallowed thickly and nodded in silent reply.

The minutes passed slowly. Very slowly. Though there wasn't a clock in sight, Rose could almost hear each second pass and was hyper-aware of each breath the Doctor exhaled in her direction. Their eyes met a few times but Rose turned her gaze upon his arm, staring at the crook of his elbow, the only innocent place she could think. She believed he was doing the same, for he didn't move a muscle and she could almost feel his gaze upon her hair. It was intense - too intense - and close - too close.

"Doctor," Rose whispered tentatively. For some reason, being enclosed as they were, it felt only right to whisper. "Would it be okay if I tried laying on my back?"

The Doctor's eyebrows rose at the absurdity of the simple request and chuckled as the tension abated slightly. "Of course."

The Doctor pulled his hands back to allow her to move as needed and only realized his new predicament when she had settled: where was he to put his hands? His one arm maneuvered easily to cushion his head, but the other arm... He tried resting it on his hip, but the curve of the hammock wouldn't allow his elbow the space it needed. He tried laying it straight down his leg, but with the way he was cradled next to Rose, it wouldn't stay without great effort. He lifted his hand and stared at it, then searched for any safe and comfortable place it might-

Rose burst out in a fit of giggles, shaking the entire hammock. She grabbed his hand out of the air and held it in her own, laying the pair on her stomach. "Thanks," she whispered with a smile. "I needed a laugh."

The smiles and humor faded too quickly though. Their eyes had met, as they often did, and the lust returned, making them both swallow hard and look away.

"So tell me, Doctor, in your incredible seven hundred years of traveling the universe, have you ever found yourself in a position like this?"

"Depends what you mean by 'like this'. I have been an exhibit in a zoo before, and almost a piece of an alien collection in Utah, if you remember. If you mean captive and drugged, well, you've been through that alongside me as well, haven't you? However, if you mean punch drunk on chemically-enhanced pheromones and locked in a room with a pretty girl? No. That's definitely new." He chuckled but then sighed heavily. It didn't matter how they tried to lighten the mood, the heat of her warm body against him, the softness of her skin, the scent of her arousal was getting to him. Yes, he could smell her arousal, knew that she was wet with need.

Rose wished she hadn't asked. "Punch drunk" and "pretty girl" made her heart race faster.

A loud clang echoed suddenly through the room and the Doctor's head shot up just in time to see a hole in the wall seal back into place. On the floor before it laid a platter piled high with raw vegetation.

"How's your stomach?" the Doctor asked over his shoulder.

"I'm starving, but I'm not being lured out." Rose sighed heavily and laid back down.

"A small first victory," the Doctor agreed. As he returned to their previous position, he felt her stomach rumble beneath their hands. "I could always grab a few things and bring them in here though."

"No, that'd still feel like they're winning. I can wait 'til closing time."

The Doctor smiled affectionately at her stubbornness.

Her stomach growled audibly and she snorted a self-deprecating laugh. "Any idea when closing time might be?"

"It must still be a few hours away. Are you sure?"

"Stop worrying. I'm tougher than that."

"Yes, and I think you're even tougher than you realize." The Doctor delicately stroked his thumb over the top of her hand and his eyes turned unwittingly to the place on her smooth stomach where their hands rested. Rose sucked in a sharp breath and the Doctor reprimanded himself. The gesture was innocent enough, but too intimate in their current state.

"Okay, this position isn't working either," Rose declared. "Can I try my other side?"

"Yeah, that might work," he agreed. Spooning. It should be comfortable; a position they could sustain and not have to look each other in the eye. It could be like lying with a pillow or a teddy bear. He was sure he could imagine that.

The moment she was situated, Rose sighed with relief. Finally, a comfortable position. They fit perfectly together and his hand rested gently on her hip in a way that wasn't as arousing as across her stomach. This was good. If they could stay like that, she was sure that she could fall asleep. Sleep was the best way to pass time.

Sleep didn't come, but time still passed more easily. Rose was still aware of each breath the Doctor took, but she stopped counting the seconds. The desire never subsided, but it felt easier to keep in check, both of them retreating into their private thoughts. At least an hour had passed, perhaps even two. It was hard to tell time in their bodies' hyper states.

"Rose?" the Doctor breathed against the back of her neck. "Do you ever regret it? Coming along with me?"

"Of course not," she answered in surprise.

"My offer of the universe, I never meant for us to tour so many prison cells... or this. I live for adventure, it's true, but I never mean-"

"Doctor, stop," Rose admonished. "I wouldn't give up a single one of our adventures. I've never regretted my choice to go with you."

"Not one? Not even this?" he asked skeptically.

"What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger, yeah?" she chuckled. "I… I'm sure this could even be funny once we get out of here."

"You really have no doubts, do you?"


"Rose Tyler, I'm in awe of you. Even after all of our adventures, you still surprise me with your faith." Each word he spoke made his breath fall upon her neck and shoulder.

She was short of breath and her response slid out on a shaky exhale. "I trust you completely."

His lips were right there. Her skin was right there and he couldn't help himself. In his adoration, he placed a light kiss upon her spine. "Tell me again... how long are you going to stay with me?"

"Forever," she whispered in reply.

The Doctor closed his eyes and placed another kiss upon her skin. She shuddered and couldn't help the tears that sprung to her eyes. When she shuddered again he felt the change. Silent though it was, he recognized it for what it had been... a sob.

"Rose?" His arm encircled her waist as he pushed forward, attempting to see her face. With this small movement she felt his erection press against her bottom.

"Oh god," she wept. "This isn't fair."

"I'm sorry," he replied quickly. He hadn't meant for her to feel it. He'd been so careful that she didn't.

"I can't do this. It just isn't fair."

"I know. I'm sorry, Rose," he said earnestly.

"No, you don't know. You don't get it." She pulled her arms against her chest protectively and couldn't decide whether she wanted him to let go or hold her closer.

"Explain it to me," he urged in a sad, solemn plea.

"I can't," she cried.

"No, Rose, don't cry. I can't stand to see you cry. You never cry..." The Doctor felt desperate and helpless. In all that they'd been through, Rose hardly ever cried and it hurt him far more than he could've imagined. "Rose, please..."

"This means too much to me, Doctor. You mean too much to me." Her voice was high and strained as she tried to keep herself together.

"You too. You have to know I feel the same."

"No." She shook her head vehemently. "You mean more to me. Best mates, that's what we are, and I try so hard - so hard- to feel that way... The harmless, playful flirting, hand-holding, smiles, and embraces... Friends. I try so hard to make it feel like we're just good mates, but it feels like so much more to me. The spark we have... it means more to me. I know it can't be. You have a policy; we can't be more. I understand, I do, and it's okay. I know there's a line and I try so hard not to cross it, but this... I've hoped for this, but not like this. It's too much. It's just too much."

She couldn't say anymore; completely overcome by the emotion flowing through her. It was a fantasy, only twisted, and it hurt so much.

"Rose..." he started gently.

"No, stop," she interrupted him quickly, her voice still strained. "Don't. Please? Please forget it. Forget all I just said. This situation is just intense. As soon as we get to the TARDIS, these damn hormones of mine will level out and things will be like they always were. Rose and the Doctor, dearest of friends, just like it's supposed to be."

"Rose..." the Doctor tried again.

"Please say you'll forget it," she pleaded. "I don't want this to ruin things. You're everything to me. I'll be all that I can for you for as long as I can. I'll never leave you, and I don't think I could take it if you would send me away for something as silly as-"

"I have no intention of ever sending you away," the Doctor protested.

"That's how it works though. It's how it has to be, right?" Though she tried to suppress it, her tears fell faster. "I'll wither and die and you'll-"

"You're different, Rose," the Doctor said fiercely. "I told you that you're different. I won't 'send you away'. You're-"

The Doctor was cut short when a new sound entered the room.

"Oh, you can't be serious," the Doctor scoffed as he pulled the cloth down to look into the room.

"What is it?" Rose didn't leave her position, she couldn't stand the thought of the Doctor seeing her face as it was.

"A large, bouncy, play yard ball. You're giving us toys to occupy ourselves and you decide on a ball? You're going have to do better than that." He shouted at the onlookers above, knowing that his "keepers" would still hear him. "How ridiculous."

"Just think it another small victory," Rose whispered encouragingly.

The Doctor stared down at her despondently and laid a hand on her shoulder. He was about to speak but she beat it him to it again. "I'm feeling pretty tired now. Would it be alright if I slept?"

She was trying to escape him, to run from the conversation. It hurt him deeply that she was so doubtful. She swore utter trust but he found a piece of her that not only doubted him, but feared him. Pulling her light hair behind her ear, he gazed down on her face. Her eyes stared straight ahead. The pain twisted in his gut but he silently laid beside her and nodded. She never looked so fragile and he couldn't stand the thought of hurting her more.

With a sigh of resignation, he closed his eyes and whispered softly against her. "Sleep well, Rose."

In the silence and stillness as she drifted off to sleep, the Doctor felt a different change in the air. The pheromones had changed. She was no longer exuding the scent of desire but the scent of fear and defeat. The strength of her despair had overpowered the artificial hormones that had been injected in her body. She was not defeated by her captors, but by her fierce emotions. He understood the feeling, for he too felt crushed by the emotions of the girl beside him.

Hours slipped by as Rose slept, but the Doctor, though he tried, could not sleep for more than a few minutes at a time.

"Rose," he whispered tentatively, startling her from her slumber. "I'm sorry. I just thought you might like to know... It seems that the zoo has closed for the evening. Or the day. They might possibly be nocturnal."

Rose blinked through the gap in the nearly enclosed hammock and felt relieved when she saw that the ceiling had returned. "Oh, thank god! I have to pee so bad."

The Doctor smiled brightly at the feeling of some normalcy between them but Rose missed his grin in her hurry to get out of their small nest.

"Oh come on, there has to be some place for us to go. They can't expect us to just go on the floor!"

The Doctor peered over the side and laughed as she scanned the empty room frantically. "There's sort of a trough in the floor against that wall. It slants a bit toward that corner and has a small hole at the end. I assume that's what it's for."

"Sure it's not for water or something?"

"No, that comes from the other side of the trough. See that tiny hole in the wall? I expect the water comes from there somehow and washes down the trough to the hole we 'go' in."

"Urgh," she groaned. "It's not like this is new, but I wish they'd given us toilet paper!" Her voice increased in volume and by the end, she was shouting at the ceiling.

"You'll have to try that again. They don't speak English," the Doctor smirked.

"I thought the TARDIS was still translating," she said in confusion and frustration.

"Oh, she is, but I purposely speak English to you in here and so you respond that way to me. If you want to speak their language, you have to intend them to understand. About that request though - we don't actually know what system they use. They could-"

"I get it, Doctor. They probably have no idea what toilet paper is. I suppose I'll have to do without," she all but growled, adding in a mumble to herself, "It's not like my knickers aren't wet already."

She looked over her shoulder at the Doctor as she made her way to the corner. Before she opened her mouth, he beamed at her and laughed. "I know. Assume the position."

He laid back in the hammock and plugged his ears. As she had reminded him before, this wasn't their first time sharing a cell. He laughed to himself again as he remembered her outrage the first time she had to go in the open with him in the same space. Turning his back was a given, but she also insisted that he covered his ears, claiming that it was just as weird if he heard her going as it was if he were watching. He jumped in surprise when he felt a poke through the hammock's fabric wall.

" I'm done," she announced as he took his fingers from his ears. "I'll do the same if you have to go. Then maybe we'll have a look at what they're trying to feed us?"

"Yeah." His relief grew as the normalcy between them continued. Well, maybe normalcy wasn't the right word for it. There was still a heavy feeling between them, but it was better. The fact that the pheromones were fading certainly helped.

"So, what's on the menu?" Rose asked as she sat cross-legged before the pile of food.

"Well..." the Doctor spoke as he shifted through the raw vegetation. "Looks like fruits, veggies, and nuts, all served on a large leaf that I imagine is meant as a plate or decoration."

"We could use that leaf later then... if you know what I mean."

"Toilet paper?" he laughed.

"Better than nothing. So this stuff, is it safe to eat?"

"I imagine so, but let me have a bite of everything first. I'm not as prone to poisons as humans and I'll be able to tell if they'll be alright for you, too."

Their meal was relatively quiet, with only a few remarks over taste and preference, followed by the Doctor figuring out how the water worked. Once finished, the uncomfortable silence fell over them again. He wanted to pick up their conversation, but he had no idea what to say... and had a feeling she still wanted to avoid it. In fact, she seemed to be avoiding him altogether. With their audience gone, they were taking advantage of their freedom to walk around and stretch out their stiff muscles. Though she wasn't obviously keeping away from him, he could see her desire for space through her body language.

"You know," the Doctor started conversationally, "I bet that if you tried to drown me in the water trough, someone would come in."

"What?" she exclaimed in surprise.

"You know, considering they want both of us, and for us to mate, they'd probably try to step in if they thought you were trying to kill me," he explained with a shrug.

"God, Doctor, I forget how insane you can be sometimes," she laughed nervously in shock. "I'd never even pretend to do it."

"So bashing my head against the wall wouldn't do it for you either, I'm guessing?"

"Are you suddenly a glutton for punishment?" she smiled.

"No, seriously – if someone comes in, we might be able to get out."

"No," she said firmly. She could actually see him running through possibilities in his mind. "No. I mean it. You act like it'd be so easy, but would you be able to do it to me?"

"Of course not," he answered with an affronted tone.

"There you go. And besides, we don't know what's out there, what we're up against."

"And we probably won't until we try to make our escape. If this plan to bore them doesn't work, we'll have to come up with something else."

"It's not like we have to rush it, Doctor. I mean, it's not like I want to be here, but they'll have to come in eventually anyway. So long as they don't inject us with hormones again, I think we'll be okay, yeah?"

The Doctor smiled at her warmly. "We're always okay, you and me."

Her smile lit him up inside and he rubbed her upper arm in a comforting, affectionate gesture. His heart sunk again when she frowned and averted her eyes. Holding his smile the best he could, the Doctor moved to another wall and slid down to rest his back against it. He wished she'd decided bashing his head would have been worth it. He worried that if they didn't get out of that room soon, the tension and rejection could destroy him.

His rejected pout didn't go unnoticed.

"Bet playing with that ball doesn't sound so ridiculous anymore, huh?"

"We can't," he said as he fidgeted with his fingernails. His eyes were unfocused as if he was staring without really seeing. "They're watching us, remember? If they see it amuses us at all then our second win would become failure."

"I know. I wasn't suggesting it," Rose said with a smirk as she crossed the room toward him. "I was just trying to get the great Time Lord to admit that he isn't above playing with rubber balls."

He watched her curiously as she slid her back down the wall to sit beside him, mimicking his position by resting her elbows on her knees.

"I never said I was above toying with rubber balls, or any other kind for that matter. I-"

"Not with those words, but you definitely said it," she said with a knowing smile. "And know, when we're out of here, I'm going to make you play football with me."

The Doctor was speechless. She'd done it again. Anytime he frowned she was there with a smile for him. Every time.

Tenderly placing her hand on his, her smile grew in warmth. "We'll always be okay, you and me."

"Yes, we will, Rose Tyler," he answered as he entwined their fingers. Smile in place, she leaned against him and laid her head on his shoulder. The rest of the night passed in pensive, companionable silence.

When morning came and the ceiling was pulled back again, the two of them sighed and climbed back into their hanging sanctuary. This day, however, it was much more comfortable. Tired from staying up at night, and without the anxiety of the day before, Rose fell asleep quickly.

She awoke with a start a few hours later and smiled when she saw that the Doctor was fast asleep behind her. Careful not to wake him, she peered over the side of the hammock to see what toy might have been thrown to them this time.

"Doctor!" she shouted with uncontainable glee. The Doctor jerked awake with his eyes wide and panicked. "It's your screwdriver and my phone!"

"What!" He leapt forward so quickly that the hammock turned and they fell with a painful thud on the hard floor. Rose groaned and grabbed her head, but the Doctor didn't pause for even a second as he scrambled for his sonic screwdriver, holding it reverently in his hands. "My sonic screwdriver..."

"No need for a 'sorry', Doctor. I'm just fine," she chided.

"My sonic screwdriver," he repeated. Rose wondered if it was her imagination or if his eyes were really misting up.

"Why though?" he asked in confusion, looking around the room suspiciously.

"Maybe they don't know what it's capable of. They're trying to give us toys, remember? In essence, it's a metal stick that buzzes at different frequencies, right?" Rose offered as she looked over her phone.

"Hey!" he admonished. "More respect, if you please. It's gotten us out of more situations than we can count."

"I wasn't disrespecting it, I-"

"Oh, it still works!" he exclaimed as he leapt to his feet. "I was worried they might have broken it before they threw it in here. This is brilliant! This will make getting out of here loads easier."

"Yeah well, this isn't going to help," Rose pouted as she cradled the pieces of her mobile phone in her hands. "I don't know if they'd disabled it or not, but it fell apart when they tossed it in."

"Sonic screwdriver, Rose. Respect it," he smirked as the blue light of his beloved device repaired her phone. "Now, creative juices flowing... How do we get out of here? I could easily break the glass above us, but it's too high to climb out."

"Try finding the door?" Rose suggested.

The Doctor quickly moved to the wall where their toys and food were delivered and was easily able to find the outline of the "cat flap" so he called it, and the larger door. "Deadlocked. Maybe they did know the capabilities of my sonic screwdriver."

"I'd suggest that we could phone for help, but that isn't exactly useful..." Rose thought aloud. "Although... it does have the number to the TARDIS. You wouldn't be able to...? No, there's no one there to answer it."

"No. Rose Tyler, you are brilliant." The Doctor beamed and placed an enthusiastic kiss on her forehead. "Give that beautiful blue box a call."

Rose's face lit up as she phoned the TARDIS and handed it off to the Doctor.

"On speed dial, is it?" he grinned. "Here goes nothing."

Placing the receiver part to his ear and the whirring sonic to the mouth piece, the Doctor listened as the TARDIS phone fell from its resting place atop the center console. "Emergency Programme Two," he spoke clearly. After listening closely for a moment he used the sonic once more on the mobile before pressing in a long code of numbers in quick succession.

Once finished the Doctor waited with bated breath, his hopeful eyes locked on Rose's smiling face as nibbled the side of her bottom lip in anticipation. Their hearts pounded and their nerves began to strain with each passing second.

The Doctor literally leapt with joy when the familiar 'wheezing' noise filled their private habitat. Rose clapped her hands to her mouth in her excitement but it wasn't enough to hide her wide smile. "Never since we woke up here had I imagined our escape to be so easy," she squealed.

"I know!" The Doctor agreed. "Although it looks like our captors are finally going to show their faces."

Rose stared at the large door as it opened for the first time, a group of scientists and handlers filing in.

"Well, don't dilly-dally, get in," the Doctor reprimanded.

Rose, though she knew it would mean little to the reptilian species, flashed a rude hand gesture at them before disappearing through the narrow blue door. The Doctor, in similar smugness, waggled his fingers in a taunting goodbye before closing the doors behind him.

"Oh god, it feels so good to be home," Rose said as she twirled on the metal grating. Reaching the center console, she placed a kiss upon its edge. "Home, sweet home."

"So where to?" the Doctor asked as he joined her at the console.

"Anywhere. Though someplace we'll be well accepted might be nice," she smiled brightly. "You choose and I'll leave you to it. The shower and the wardrobe are calling me. Sort of disappointed that they took my shoes. Great for running, they were. And ya can't find quality like that in the 21st century."

"We'll have to replace them then. 34th century Earth, wasn't it?"

"3385, one of my favorites."

"Then that's where we're headed," he replied, flipping a couple of switches to get the engines going again. "Well, give or take a few years."

"I'd better hurry with my shower then."

The Doctor smiled but let out a heavy sigh as he leaned back against the railing. She was right, they were back in the TARDIS, their hormone levels were normal, and they seemed like they always were. Dearest friends.

But her tears were real and the sound of her weeping was a heavy weight on his hearts.

"All set," Rose announced as she bounced back into the control room a short time later. "Er... you're in a dressing gown."

"And pajamas," the Doctor added.

"I see that. You know, I know the 34th century is really broad-minded about clothing, but I'm not so sure it's your style. At least not for going out," she teased. "Although with that great hair of yours, I suppose you could pull off anything." The Doctor closed his eyes as she ran her fingers up through his hair. 'Helping it defy gravity', as she put it.

"Comfortable as I am, my brilliance isn't as easily acknowledged without a suit," he smirked. "I do look forward to a trip, but I was hoping you wouldn't mind a little downtime in the TARDIS first."

"No, course not... but... are you alright?" Her eyes were full of concern when they met his.

Downtime in the TARDIS was not at all unusual, but the distance in his eyes and his tired smile worried her.

"Yeah. We can get going soon. I just wanted a little time to appreciate being home. I've got some water on. Can I interest you in a cuppa?" he offered as he jabbed a thumb in the direction of the kitchen.

"Yeah, I'd love one," she agreed, hooking her arm through his as they headed toward the kitchen together. "I feel the need to ask though: you sure you're Gallifreyan and not British? You and your thing with tea always reminds me of mum."

"Whoa there," he warned. "I might be able to forgive you for comparing me to tea-loving Brits, but that remark about your mother was absolutely uncalled for."

"Perhaps, but I love to see you looking so indignant."

Arriving in the kitchen, Rose leaned casually against the counter and watched as the Doctor prepared the tea.

"Can I make you something to eat?" he offered.

"No, if anything, I should be offering to make you something. Can I?"

The Doctor's brow creased and he blinked in confusion. "Why?"

"I'm worried about you. Something's wrong." Rose nibbled her bottom lip as met his eyes. "I know we both like hanging out in the TARDIS, but it's rarely your idea. Also... it's the look in your eyes. You may say you're fine, but fine doesn't mean good. What's wrong?"

The Doctor sighed and took a seat at the table, staring pensively at his tea. "It's about some of the things you said yesterday. I think we need to talk."

"Doctor..." Rose responded quietly, her eyes focused on the floor. "I was really over-emotional and had a terrible case of what people refer to as verbal diarrhea. I humiliated myself and-"

"Rose, please," he requested as he slid her tea to the seat next to his. "I need to talk."

Rose swallow thickly and very slowly slid into the chair. Her eyes stared at her teacup as the Doctor had, unable to stand the grave look on his face.

"Your faith in me means so much. You could never understand just what it means to me that you believe in me the way you do. It hurt a lot yesterday when I saw that trust fail." Rose opened her mouth to say something, but was speechless in shock.

"You're afraid of me." The Doctor breathed deeply and closed his eyes before continuing. "Your heart is pounding and you're absolutely terrified of what I might say."

Rose looked down again. As much as she wanted to, she couldn't deny it.

"When I say..." The Doctor paused and tried again, "No matter what I say, you seem convinced that someday I'll abandon you, drop you somewhere, or send you away. I love it when you tell me that you'll stay with me forever, but it turns out that you really don't believe it."

Rose's voice matched his quiet, solemn tone. She chose her words with care, hesitant to speak them. "I'm going to age, Doctor. I'm going to get older and as I do... I'm not always going to be able to run like I can now. Someday, I'm going to slow you down. I never want to stop traveling with you - not ever - but can you really keep me? You're going to watch as I wither and it'll hurt you. You've never been able to stand it, watching your friends-"

"There it is right there," he interrupted. "You don't believe me at all when I tell you you're different. I was broken when you met me and you built me, made me better. You've made my life worth living again. You've promised me your forever and I want every day of it. I don't age like you do. You will age, but that's the way it's meant to be; there's nothing at all wrong with that. If we go by looks alone, we've got a good fifteen years before you even reach the age I look. It wouldn't even look awkward if you age another twenty years past that. In all likelihood though, I won't keep this body that long. I seem to be going through them faster than I should." A small smile momentarily crossed his face he thought of how many regenerations he had gone through in the last hundred years alone. "Each incarnation is different. The two that you've seen are some of my younger forms. I've been old before though. I kept my very first body long enough to be old, slow, grey, and wrinkled. If I wish it, my regenerations can age with you."

"You'd really want that?" Rose asked as her eyes began to mist.

"I do, Rose," he answered in earnest. "You have to believe me when I tell you you're not like anyone else. I've been afraid to say it, to accept it, but I felt sure that you already knew..."

"What, Doctor?" Rose's voice was high and she hardly breathed as she hoped to hear the words she'd hoped for so long.

The Doctor's eyes connected with hers and his soul accompanied his confession. "I love you, Rose."

Her tears fell in that very instant and a quiet sob broke free. "I love you too, Doctor. So completely, I do." Their chests heaved with emotion as they stared at one another. Rose lightly touched his cheek and leaned in to kiss him as she had wanted to for so long. He responded immediately, delicately pressing his lips to hers.

"Tell me, Rose," the Doctor whispered with his forehead against hers. "Do you trust me? In this, do you believe me?"

Rose nodded soberly and the Doctor pulled back with a large grin that shined in his eyes. Rose watched as he kissed the top of her hand and placed their hands together on the table.

"So..." Rose asked tentatively, "where do we go from here?"

"To buy you some shoes," he said with a smirk. "After I pop into the wardrobe for a moment, of course. I can't go out without my suit. Just doesn't feel right. Not to mention, I have a feeling you like the way it fits on me. Well, that's what Cassandra insisted when-"

"Doctor, you know that's not what I meant," she chuckled. The deep sentimental exchange had passed.

"Wherever our relationship naturally leads." After another chaste kiss against her knuckles, the Doctor jumped to his feet. "Now, shoes. New adventures ahead and we can't start until you have proper footwear."

"A lot of running ahead?"

"Not planned, but likely."


It's my first Doctor Who fanfic, please let me know what you thought. Good or bad - just a quick review?