A/N: Here's a short little one-shot for your reading pleasure… emphasis on the short, my apologies. I hope you enjoy it, nevertheless! :)

A long black corridor loomed before her. Rose walked wide-eyed through the darkness, total silence enveloping her until she was sure she'd gone deaf. She was so alone. Suddenly, a chill ran up her spine as a creature of her worst nightmares emerged from the darkness. Before she could turn to run, one terrifying word knocked the breath straight from her lungs.

"Exterminate!"

There was a flash of light and Rose let out a scream so loud that the citizens of Raxacoricofallapatorius could surely hear her.

"Rose! Rose, time to wake up now," a faint voice spoke in her ear, pulling her away from the offending Dalek.

Rose's eyes slid open and she quietly whimpered as the last traces of her nightmare stirred in her mind. She squinted as the overly bright light flooded into her dilated pupils. She was dazed and confused and shivering in fear. She reached up and touched her face just to be sure she was alive.

"Rose? Talk to me, please," the Doctor coaxed quietly, pulling her hand away from her face and rubbing his thumb across her soft skin.

"I-I…" Rose stammered, tears welling up in her eyes and a lump forming in her throat.

"Shh-shh, Rose… it's okay, I know you're scared but it was only a dream," he spoke gently, attempting to quell her terror.

Her tears began to spill over, violent sobs wracking her body until the liquid soaked her cheeks and dripped onto the front of her shirt.

"I was… there was a… Dalek," she sniffled, suddenly realizing how daft she was acting. She and the Doctor had faced Cybermen, werewolves, even real Daleks, but a little dream had set her off, leaving her a crying mess tangled in her blankets and clinging to the Doctor like her life depended on it. She sheepishly pried her hand out of the Doctor's firm grasp.

"Sorry," she said as she wiped away her tears and blushed crimson, turning away and hanging her head.

The Doctor suddenly let out a laugh so loud and boisterous that Rose jumped a mile off the bed. Turning to face him, she was first angry that he would laugh at her, but then she cracked a smile and eventually started laughing too.

Together they laughed heartily, falling over themselves in their joyous chortling until they were both flushed and breathless. Eventually the Doctor settled down, his laughter becoming a few quiet chuckles. Rose breathed heavily, smiling at him.

"What was tha' all about anyway?" she asked with a huge grin, the terror of her nightmare temporarily forgotten.

"Rose Tyler, you are simply the most ridiculous woman I have ever met," he said, his whimsical smile falling to a more concerned grimace. "Only a Tyler woman would apologize for being scared of a nightmare. Really, Rose, did you think I would be cross with you for reliving your worst fears? Fears that you've been hiding from me, fears that I knew would eventually surface? Daleks are horrible creatures; I would certainly be concerned if you weren't scared of them!"

Rose dropped her head again. "But we've faced Daleks in real life. We've fought and destroyed them, and you saw it, I wasn't scared then! So why am I cryin' over a bloody nightmare?"

"Rose, just because we've fought 'em doesn't mean you can't be scared of 'em! You have to talk to me sometimes, Rose. The things I see were never meant for human eyes, they're nothing more than the monsters under the bed for most people… but here you are, living every day in the presence of these horrible, terrible things. It's so normal to be scared; even I get scared sometimes, okay? Don't you forget that," the Doctor said, slipping a finger under her chin and lifting her head, forcing her to look at him.

"Smile," the Doctor said, leaning in and kissing Rose on the forehead.

"S'pose it's nothing a nice cuppa tea can't fix, yeah?" she said with a grin, hopping out of bed.

"That's my girl! Allons-y, Rose Tyler!" the Doctor exclaimed happily, grabbing her hand and pulling her through the winding corridors of the TARDIS.

Rose laughed, her nightmare pushed from her mind by the chipper Time Lord, when suddenly it clicked: whether real or imagined, the Doctor would always protect her from all harm.