Chapter three: Fact
Three more nights of the same. Somehow, she'd be thrown into his room or he'd be thrown into hers. The doors would close and they'd have no choice but to fall asleep in a tangle of sheets and each other. Rose already knew that she was becoming used to the Doctor's arms around her at night, but it was a surprise to the Doctor when he couldn't rest without having her next to him. The TARDIS was winning, he reckoned. He tried to escape by staying in bed and clinging to the headboard when the ship tossed, but that did nothing. Rose would come flying inside with a cute smile on her face.
Yes, the Doctor had to admit it to himself. He loved sharing a bed with Rose Tyler. He loved talking about simple things like breakfast, memories, plans, and what to wear the next day. He loved feeling almost human and most certainly not alone. But, as he already figured out, that meant that he loved Rose Tyler herself. His human companion, all sorts of pink and yellow, perfect in so many ways. As perfect as a human could get, he figured. And, he was becoming infatuated with every aspect of her.
"No, let me see!" he laughed.
"Why? What are you going to do?" she giggled as they struggled in her bed. He wanted to see her hand, but she wouldn't let him.
He eventually won and held her hand to his. "Yes, as I suspected. Phenotypic differences. Sexual dimorphism. Natural selection and evolution. Gender associations. The diagnosis is that you have tiny hands!"
"Maybe you have big hands and mine are average," she shot back, sticking her tongue out of the side of her mouth.
"Nothing about you is average," he said seriously, webbing his fingers through hers. "Look at your nail polish. Since when do you paint your nails? And what is that? Blue?"
"Yeah, it's blue. I wanted to do something different."
"And your hands are so soft. How do you do that?"
She shrugged, though her insides were burning from the compliment. "Honestly, I don't do much to them."
"You've got good genes, then. Even if they are tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny—"
"I get it!" she laughed.
He held her hand, setting his chin on her shoulder. "I like the nails."
"Matches the police box."
"That was the idea, yeah."
"Should have gone with green."
She huffed. "Next time I'll consult you on my polish choice."
"It'd bring out the green in your eyes. That's what polish does, right? Accents the ensemble or whatever?"
"Yeah," she nodded breathlessly. He had noticed the smallest shades in her eyes, the ones that could only be seen in the light. She wondered what he saw when he looked at them. Green, gold, hazel, brown, maybe the entire universe?
He moved closer and balanced his cheek on hers. "You should shut your eyes. Try to rest. Humans need seven to nine hours of sleep. There are so many theories about that. Why humans need sleep. Some say it's inactivity. See, the animals humans evolved from had to stay inactive for the periods of time when they found themselves the most vulnerable. Good old natural selection supposedly passed that trait onto you. Other theories, such as conservation of energy or restoration theorems, could also be true. But, really it's probably got to do with brain plasticity: the capacity of your nervous system to change its structure and function over your lifetime in response to environmental diversity. Sleep shapes your brains. Isn't that an interesting thought? Shut your eyes, dream, and wham! Your brain structure and organization is all over the map," he paused and glanced down at her. Her eyelids were shut and her breathing had deepened. Assuming she was asleep, he went to place a kiss on her cheek.
Before he could, her tired voice stopped him. "Keep talking, Doctor. I like to fall asleep listening."
He smiled and thought of a new subject. "Once, I went to a water planet. All water. Nothing but fish, sand, kelp, and merpeople. The merpeople aren't the topic of the story, since they're a dreadfully dull species. Just swim, swim, swim all the time. Instead, this is about my favorite underwater creatures: the cnidarians. Fantastic little buggers. Most people have no idea what that is until I say jellyfish. So, jellyfish. They can go between a polyp stage and a medusa during reproduction. Not only that, but they're the first multicellular organism above a sponge with real complexity. Kind of like the first creatures to have layers before the bilaterians, every other life form. Not mention their amazing defense mechanism, the cnidocyst. These cells are only found in cnidarians. Little explosive cells with this organelle and tubule. Like a harpoon! That's why jellyfish sting. I swam right into a three hundred foot jelly, they had them on that planet, and got the shock of my life. It would have killed a human, or merman, but I just kept swimming. Bit burnt is all…"
She had finally fallen asleep. He then pressed a kiss to her cheek and settled down beside her, going into his hour of rejuvenation.
The next day, they got up together like they had done for several weeks. They ate their breakfast as though they were in a London flat rather than on a time-traveling, box-shaped, bigger-on-the-inside ship. After that, it was off to work. They returned from a very difficult few days of helping people, facing death, getting in trouble, and saving the world.
"That was insane!" the Doctor shouted as they entered the TARDIS. "You were brilliant."
"No, you were," she responded, batting her eyes.
He put his hands in his pockets and leaned on his heels. "Yes, I was!"
She laughed which got him laughing. He could hardly focus on the controls to get going. That's when it dawned on him. "You must be exhausted. Did you rest at all?"
"Nope. We were sort of running about for two days straight, if you recall."
He hummed. "No, sorry. No idea what you're saying."
She giggled again and lightly pushed him with her foot. She was sitting on one of the railings and he was walking around to check the systems.
"Hey! Watch it," he playfully snapped. She hopped down and hugged him from behind. He smiled, holding onto her forearm. "What's this for?"
"I'm glad we're okay. I know we always will be."
His smile lessened and she left for her bedroom. He knew what she was. Human. Mortal. She'd die years before he would and he'd have to keep going. But, he didn't know if he could keep going after her. He didn't want to lose her. And he wouldn't. Her scream echoed through the console room. He went running.
He saw her up ahead and she held her hands out. "Don't!"
That didn't stop him. He ran right up to her and put his arms around her. "What? What is it?"
"Lovely. Now you're trapped too."
He looked around. The TARDIS had rearranged herself. His room and her room were now their room. Their beds were pushed together and both sides remained the same, only the hallway was gone. He pointed to the door. "There's a way out."
"That's the loo. My loo and your loo. Together."
The Doctor saw the way that he came in and went towards it. Before he could walk out into the console room, it materialized into a wall. He knocked on it, and then proceeded to knock on all of the walls.
"How did this happen?" Rose asked. "Can the TARDIS do that?"
"She can be rearranged. Usually, I have to tell her what to do. Lately though, she's got a mind of her own."
Rose sat down on her bed, attempting to figure out why the TARDIS would be behaving in such a way. "So, the TARDIS has done this on its own and on purpose. But why?"
"Remember how I said we were having a row?" he replied, scratching his head. "Well, she's winning the argument."
He sat heavily beside her and began to take his sneakers off. He shrugged his coat to the floor and loosened his tie. Rose watched him, waiting for further explanation. The Doctor wasn't about to give it to her. Not yet. So, he walked towards his—their—loo and muttered something about taking a shower. She collapsed onto her bed and thought seriously about what could be happening. That's when the TARDIS leapt upwards, only briefly, and the drawer to the Doctor's table was set ajar. She glanced at it and saw his notepad.
"You shouldn't invade his privacy," she told herself quietly. "But it's your room too now, so technically that's your drawer."
She got the notepad and began to flip through it. Her jaw fell and her eyes began to water. Pages of drawings were in the notepad, some with writing and some without, and she was always the subject matter. She stumbled onto one with quite a bit of writing, so she read it.
I have traveled the universe, time itself, and known so many things. I have learnt of supreme beings, cults, gods, and I was without belief. Without hope. Until I met her. Rose Tyler.
Without a word, she put the notepad back where it belonged and got under her covers. She couldn't help feeling over the moon. Her Doctor was as infatuated as she was, even if he wouldn't ever admit it. He exited the bathroom in his nightclothes and got under the covers on his side of the bed. Rose was on her side, staring at him.
"Rose," he began, "do I still have shampoo in my hair or something?"
She laughed and shook her head no. "Doctor, I just wanted to say that I really wasn't happy. Not until I met you."
He grinned and pulled her into an embrace. She gave him a kiss on the cheek and nuzzled into his neck. "Also," she added, "are you going to tell me why the TARDIS is acting up?"
"Well, she's trying to be helpful. I appreciate her for doing that, but she's too stubborn to back down. Reminds me of someone else I know."
Rose blushed and thought of something. "If you let her do whatever it is she's trying to do—"
"Right. That's not an option."
The ship jolted and the Doctor landed face-to-face with Rose, noses pressed together. That's when she understood.
"Every time the TARDIS does something, we end up together. That's what this is, isn't it? The TARDIS wants us—"
"Okay, okay. Yes. That's what she's trying to do. She wants this to be permanent. The room sharing. And…such."
"And such?" Rose repeated, smiling wickedly. "I think I know what that means."
The Doctor tried to back away, but the ship jolted again. "Stop it, TARDIS! It's not funny! We get it!" he shouted at the ceiling, returning his attention to Rose. "We can't give the TARDIS what it wants."
"And why not? It'll just keep pushing us closer."
"Rose, you're human. I'm not. We've been over this."
Rose rolled her eyes and began to get irritated. "You act like you're the only person who'll outlive their partner! Mum's had to since Dad died, and she's doing all right. That doesn't mean that you won't hurt and miss them, but then you find something—or someone—else to be happy with. Yeah, you'll outlive me. It's not a risk; it's a fact. And, it may be easier to not be happy at all than to lose somebody. But, suck it up, Time Lord. Life isn't easy. It hurts. But it can be brilliant. If you let it."
The Doctor swallowed hard and put a hand on her face. "One day, you'll age. You'll be too old to go on adventures with me."
"So I'll stay here on the TARDIS, baking banana bread and offering help from the console room. I'll do anything. I don't care. You aren't getting rid of me, Doctor. That's also a fact."
Their eyes locked. She was determined and he could tell. He wanted to say yes, but he knew the danger and the pain if he did. "Rose…"
"Don't," she stopped him. "I'm tired of this, Doctor. I saw your notepad. The TARDIS opened the drawer. You love me. You know it. I know it. And I love you."
She pulled him into a kiss and he was surprised at how happily he gave into it. He kissed her back even harder, ending the kiss with a peck on the forehead. "Rose Tyler, you are crazy to love me."
"You're one to talk. You've just snogged a human."
They laughed and he held her tightly, smiling from ear to ear. A door appeared on one of the walls, leading to the main hallway. "Now the TARDIS is happy."
"It can really feel?" Rose questioned, snuggling into his side.
"She can. She knew how I felt. Saw me up at night. Drawing. Thinking. Really, the TARDIS is just a big, bubbling, blobbering bundle of emotion at times. They're loyal to their Time Lords, and they try to help us as much as they can. Glad she did get in the way. I kind of like this room. It's bigger and not empty." He fondly looked at Rose and briefly kissed her. "Goodnight, Rose."
They got ready to slumber, but the Doctor had a lump in his back. He found Ed beneath his covers and smirked. Removing the teddy bear, he offered it to Rose. She waved it off. "I've got something better to hold onto. G'night, Doctor."
In the background, the TARDIS hummed them both to sleep.