The mood as they re-entered the TARDIS was solemn. The Doctor led a limping Molly through the doors, letting the young coroner lean her weight against his as she shuffled painfully into the ship. He took her through the ship to the medical ward, despite her meek protests. As she sat on the crinkled paper on the table, Molly took a careful look at the Doctor's expression. She had never seen him look so solemn, or so worried.

The Time Lord straightened his bow-tie, without seeming to even realize, before letting out a world-weary sigh. "Molly, what were you thinking?" he asked in that sad, quiet voice, so different from his usual cheer.

She shifted uncomfortably, which only made her suck in a painful breath as her bruised ribs jostled sharply. "I was trying to help," she offered quietly.

"Molly, retrieving the prince from his cell was supposed to be my job."

She winced as he injected her with some sort of advanced pain-killer. The effects were immediate - her bruised and battered body started to go numb, her skin starting to feel warm and tingly all over. "It was too dangerous," she argued quietly. "You're not invincible, and you know what the Royal Family would have done if the kid wasn't returned safely."

The Doctor let out a humorless laugh. "Right, so it was too dangerous for me, but not for you?" He looked right into her eyes, imploring her to realize how serious the situation was. "Molly, you got lucky. Those electric cells could have easily killed you." He grasped her hand tightly in his. "I could have lost you today," he whispered, sudden fear flooding his voice.

Molly looked at him sadly. "You'd find someone better if something happened to me." She wasn't bitter about it; she was stating a fact. "I'm not very helpful. I'm no hero, Doctor. I can't dismantle machines or tell off invaders." She grabbed the Doctor's other hand, trying to make him see her point. "You're too important to lose, Doctor. The world needs you. But me? I'm just here to help however I can. I don't count. Not really."

For a moment, the Doctor froze completely, his eyes wide with shock. Then a look of horror and pain, and such deep, deep sadness, stole over that young face. He suddenly looked far older. "Oh, Molly Hooper. Fantastic Molly Hooper." The Time Lord leaned forward until his forehead was resting against Molly's. She froze at the sudden contact, but didn't pull back.

When the Doctor spoke again, his words were slow and deliberate, as though he were desperate for them to reach his companion. "I choose my companions with great care, Molly Hooper. I only travel with those who represent the absolute best of humanity." He pulled back and have her a smile with such warmth and love. Molly blinked back tears. No one had ever looked at her like that before.

"Look at you. You've saved the world more than once, you've comforted plenty of victims, both human and alien. You have such compassion, Molly. You don't turn away from anyone. And you're brilliant! How many other people become coroners this young? And you know what?" He grasped both hands firmly as he insisted, "You DO count. Do you understand me Molly Hooper? Never let yourself think you're not important, because you are. If something happened to you, I wouldn't be upset because I no longer had someone to help me save the world. It would be because you're my friend and I don't want anything to happen to you."

Something warm burned behind Molly's eyes. She had to fight to keep the years from spilling over. If it were anyone else she might have doubted the words, but she couldn't doubt the Doctor. Not ever. There was sincerity in those old, sad eyes, and love too. She felt herself being filled up with warmth as she realized just how much he meant it. To this brilliant, amazing friend, this saviour of worlds, she mattered.

The Doctor let out a squeak of surprise as Molly pulled him into a tight hug. The coroner felt him relax, then return the hug. She held it for a long time, just accepting the warmth of someone who really cared, before pulling back. "Thank you."

The Doctor smiled again. "Always, Molly Hooper." He offered her a hand. "So, back to it then."

With a smile Molly accepted, and she let her best friend lead her back into the console room, and the crazy, amazing life they led.

Well, I saw a post on Tumblr discussing the fact that Molly Hooper would make an epic companion for the Doctor, then someone mentioned how it would hurt the Doctor for Molly to think that she didn't count, so this story was born. Just a quick little one-shot, I don't think I'll be expanding on it, although I do think Molly would make an awesome companion. This was the Eleventh Doctor in case that wasn't clear.