Disclaimer: Doctor Who isn't mine. If it was things would be quite different. The BBC owns all and I bow before them.
A/N: The title of this was inspired the song Ampersand by Amanda Palmer. The melody of the song itself is haunting and I love the lyrics although the context doesn't fit with this piece at all. But given the definition of ampersand, I'm using it. I do give a nod to the lyrics though and obviously, I am not Amanda Palmer or her record company.
The Doctor wasn't really sure the exact moment that it occurred to him that Rose Tyler was no longer just another companion. No, she was someone different, someone special. It was something he had felt deep down for a while, but hadn't yet acknowledged to himself. She had touched his hearts in a way they hadn't been touched in a very long time, if ever. That in and of itself should have frightened him to no end, but it didn't. She was a calming balm to a very weary man and while he didn't deserve her, he was thankful for her all the same.
He had been drawn to her immediately, which is why he initially pushed her away. He was filled with so much anger and so much bitterness, but she didn't deserve that. He was better off on his own and she was certainly better off without him, or at least that was what told himself.
Then Rose went and proved herself. Although she had been scared, she hadn't let her fear paralyze her. She had saved him, helped save the day, and he hadn't wanted to say goodbye. She made him feel lighter and so very good inside and he had thought perhaps she might join him. He had offered her the chance to travel with him and it hurt more than he cared to admit when she said no. Unable to help himself, he broke one of his own rules. He never invited someone twice and yet he did so for her. He had asked her again, told her they could travel in time and not just space, and to his amazement and delight she had agreed.
They had adventures, they enjoyed their time together, and then Rose had asked to see her dad. He had known it was a bad idea. Yet he had done it, for her. He'd taken her to her parent's wedding. It was something that should've made her happy, only it wasn't enough for her. She had wanted to be there when her dad died.
He had truly fucked everything up. He was the stupid one, not Rose. Never Rose. He let his feelings for her cloud his judgment. Crossing into her own history or timestream was bad enough but what could he really have expected from a 19 year old human girl that had never known her dad? Of course it hadn't enough for her to just be there, the first time they went back to that fateful day. Of course she would want to actually save him. He should've put his foot down and said no, not again. She wouldn't have been happy with him but she also would not have been hurt so badly. He wouldn't have hurt her so much.
What was it about her that made him want to please her, almost above all else? It was nothing he could rationally understand, but that didn't make it any less true. She was Rose and that was really all it took. He needed to make it up to her, penance for his bad behavior. He had been hurtful, even cruel, as everything unfolded. She was strong, she had proven that to him time and time again, but she wasn't flame retardant. His hearts ached because he knew how much his words and running out had hurt her. He never should have threatened to leave her behind. He needed to do better, to be better, for her.
That was the vow the Doctor made to himself. Rose was now his plus one and he needed to treat her as such, because he loved her, he realized with a start. The Dalek in Utah had been right. He might not be able to speak of it, but he could show her with his actions what she meant to him. He wanted her with him, however long she was willing to give him. The Doctor & Rose Tyler, in the TARDIS. Exactly how it should be.