Well, guys we are finally here...the last chapter :) Thank you SO much to all of you that have read and reviewed this story. I never expected to get this response from this story and I am thankful for you guys. I have loved sharing this story. I had originally planned this to be the end of this story but it just didnt want to quit :) So, there will soon be a sequeal to this story. So, keep an eye out for the sequeal "Sooner or Later" I will be posting very soon!
The Doctor woke up slowly, feeling groggy. His eyes opened slowly and he found himself in Rose's bed, surprisingly alone. His eyes stung as light filtered through the window and he realized how long he must have slept. He pushed himself up in and bed and forced himself to wake up; yes, he had slept much too long. Ten hours, 24 minutes and 33 seconds to be exact; he hardly ever slept that long. But, for once, his sleep had not been filled with the nightmares that had been his constant companion. They had been lessening over the past few months since Rose had become his constant sleeping companion. A smile tugged at his lips; Rose made everything better.
Even though he had slept an ungodly amount of time, the Doctor was still surprised that Rose had woken before him. He hoped that she hadn't been feeling too bad; though she hid it well, he knew she was suffering the physical side effects of her very rough and unhuman miscarriage as well as the emotional side effects.
The Doctor put his shoes and jacket back on and made his way out of the bedroom in search for Rose. As he walked down the hallway he could hear voices emanating from the kitchen. He stood outside the kitchen and peeked across the corner to see Rose and Jackie hugging and speaking in hushed, tearful tones. The Doctor turned and began to walk the other way, not wanting to intrude upon their private moment. He knew that it would do Rose go to speak to someone besides him about the baby, someone not so directly affected as himself.
The Doctor slipped quietly out of the flat, walking down the stairs and out the building toward the TARDIS. He stepped through the door and walked to the console. Leaning on it heavily, the Doctor felt a wave of comfort come from the TARDIS. Are you alright? She seemed to touch his mind with. No, he wasn't okay. Not even close; he could feel his sadness reflected back at him from her before a gentle push from her. Shall we go somewhere? The Doctor shook his head; he didn't want to go anywhere. He didn't think he would be any good to anyone right now in his current state.
He leaned heavily on the console before pushing off and walking down the hallway to a place he knew would hurt him and yet he still went. He walked to the new, never used small room beside his, the one that he and Rose often shared now. Feeling his hearts stab with pain before he even entered the room, he pushed the door open slowly.
The nursery, which had once seemed to hold such hope and happiness now seemed eerie and almost dangerous. The pale, innocent blue of so many of the items around the room seemed to sting his eyes and everything so small now seemed huge and imposing. The Doctor walked to the rocker by the window, picking up a small pale yellow stuffed elephant from it before sitting down. The Doctor's throat tightened and he squeezed the push toy as he thought about the last time he had been in this room. It had only been a few days ago but it seemed almost like an eternity now.
Rose had been sitting in this rocker and he had been laughing instead of feeling like he wanted to cry like he did now.
Rose was sitting in the rocker, going through a box of old clothes that Jackie had given her from when she was a baby. At the time, the Doctor hadn't been paying much attention to what she was doing, too focused on his tinkering with the scenery changing window he'd installed in the room. He was deeply ingrained in the work of it until Rose spoke up.
"What do you think? Should we put him in this?" Rose had asked in jest, giggling as she held up a small baby dress that had more ruffles and lace than was decent for any one person to wear much less an infant.
The Doctor had meant to laugh and say something snappy about it; but instead he had just frozen. Rose's amazing smile across her face as she looked at him had stopped him in his tracks. She was just so….beautiful….incredibly beautiful. She always had been, but right in this moment he came to be fully aware of the situation they were in. The light in her eyes, sparkling and reserved just for him, her shirt just tight enough to make her budding baby bump noticeable made the Doctor's breath leave him. Rose was beautiful and amazing and she was carrying his child. Though he had known this for months now, it hit him fully and completely in that moment.
"Blimey, you don't have to look at me like that…..s'just a joke" Rose said with a laugh, putting the dress down. The Doctor was aware how frozen he was and knew Rose had no idea what was going through his mind. She had no idea of just how incredible and wonderful she really was.
Feeling his breath return, he was spurred to motion. He moved across the room to where was sitting and took the box of clothes away from her. Rose was giving him a surprised look as he got down on his knees in front of the rocker and peeled her shirt back to reveal her stomach, gazing up at her. He didn't know if his eyes spoke of the deep admiration and love he felt bursting in his hearts but it must have spoken of it at least some; Rose's cheeks turned pink as she broke his gaze, flustered.
"What's with the looks?" Rose asked "You're looking at me like you've never seen me before"
"I haven't….like this" The Doctor had said deeply before he could stop himself. He smiled as the blush on Rose's face had turned deeper red.
"I'm hardly sight in my sweat pants" Rose had said with a laugh, gesturing to her laid back clothes. "I'm too fat to fit into my other clothes" She had tried to pull her shirt back down to cover her belly, seeming to become self-conscious but the Doctor wouldn't let her.
"Don't" he chided, pulling the shirt back up. He put his hands on her belly, leaning over and giving her a soft kiss on her belly. He looked back up at her. "You're not fat Rose….you're…..perfect"
Rose's face, which was already so red, turned even more crimson. "Doctor….." she said had said in an embarrassed but flattered tone. It seemed that she had wanted to say more but hadn't been able to. The Doctor laid his head on Rose's stomach, his ear turned down. As she began to play with his hair, he reached out mentally for his son, inches under his ear. He could hear the sound of his two heart beats, could sense his rapidly growing organs and systems; it was amazing how intricate a work was going on inside in Rose and she hardly understood the full force of it. It was, simply put, fantastic.
"You've got the weight of the world on your shoulders, don't you? Again..."
The Doctor was roused from his daydream of the perfect moment into the cold harshness of reality by Rose's voice. He looked up to see her standing in the doorway, watching him cautiously. The Doctor looked down at his lap, tossing aside the stuffed toy he had been squeezing within an inch of its life. "It's what time lords do..." The Doctor said, his voice quiet and hollow. He had meant for it to sound more convincing but he just couldn't muster it under the circumstances.
Rose crossed the room so that she was standing beside the rocker. "You don't have to hold everything alone, Doctor. Tell me...how are you? Really?" she asked, seeking a real answer.
He couldn't give her a real answer; he couldn't tell her how he really felt in all of this. He couldn't let her know how fractured he was; it might cause her to lose her grip on what remained of her that was okay. Besides, he was only worried about her and how she felt in all of this. "You should hardly be asking me that. You're the one who's...been through a trauma. How are you doing?" he turned the question back around at her.
Rose moved to the front of the rocker, standing between his legs, placing her hands on his cheeks and forcing him to look up at her.
The Doctor didn't want to have to look at Rose, to allow her the opportunity to see the pain in his eyes. But her grip was strong on his head as she looked deep into his eyes and he knew she would be able to past the small barriers that he had up.
"Don't do that " Rose chided as she gazed down at him "don't turn this around. I'm struggling...but you know that. But Doctor, I have no idea how you are. You haven't talked to me...and I know you're not okay. Please, just let me in"
Rose had no idea what she was asking; the Doctor swallowed hard as he looked at her. It wasn't that easy to just talk to her about these things. He had to be the strong one in situations and if he started to talk, started to voice what he felt about the situation then he might not be able to hold back.
"Rose..." The Doctor said starting to dismiss the issue but Rose wouldn't let him.
"No, Doctor. Don't even try to say you're alright. That isn't going to work this time" Rose chided him. She laid her forehead on his and pulled him closer. "You blame yourself for this and that isn't okay with me"
The Doctor looked away from Rose's eyes as much as was possible with her hard hold on him. Emotion tightened his throat and when he spoke, his voice was croaky. "I could have lost you, Rose. I..." After just the few words, the Doctor found that his voice cracked too much to go on. His throat was painful with unshed tears at the thought that he could have lost Rose in addition to his son. The pain in his hearts was nearly breaking them from the loss of his unborn son. He didn't think he could have bared the pain if he had lost the both of them. He couldn't bear his guilt in this situation; he could have done more. He should have done more.
Rose seemed to know what he was thinking with her uncharacteristically good ability to read him. "But you didn't, Doctor" she said with a small smile, urging him to cheer up, which he didn't. "I'm right here and I'm fine. Really"
The Doctor gave a rough cough to clear his throat. "But you were in danger...and I put you there" He didn't think she understood how much danger she had really been in, how close she had come to death. How could she and still be so calm?
"When have I ever not been in danger, Doctor?" Rose asked with a small smile that threatened to melt his icy hearts. "That's what you told me before I even came with you. I asked you if it was always so dangerous. You said yes...and I still came. I'm not afraid."
That was one of the many things that the Doctor loved about Rose. She really wasn't afraid; she was one of the bravest humans that he had ever known. Even if it meant she could die she was still ready to go on to the next adventure, the next set of people they could help. The Doctor remembered how nervous he had been asking her to come with him and the sadness that he felt when she had, at first, refused. He couldn't understand, at the time, why he had already become so attached to her, but he had and he had not wanted to lose her. His hearts had soared when she had come running to him and into the TARDIS that night. The Doctor realized, with some nerves twisting in his stomach, that if Rose could be that brave, she deserved for him to do the same with her.
"But I am" The Doctor admitted, his voice small and childlike sounding. It was quiet for what seemed like a long time, Rose gazing down into his eyes as her smile turned into a look of disbelief. He had a moment to panic in the silence, beginning to regret saying the such transparent words before she said, "W-what?" Her voice was the one that was croaking now, dangerously close to crying herself.
The Doctor breathed deep through his nose as he gathered to say what he knew he needed to say. Rose could have died when she lost the baby and she would have died not knowing exactly what she meant to him. He had told her he loved her just once but he had not let her really know the depth of what those words meant coming from him. The words were not ones that he used lightly. "I said...I'm afraid." he continued. "Rose...I know that you're always in danger being with me. But this...this was the closest that you have ever come. For a short, awful time I really thought you had died. I know that you chose this life but if you had actually died..." he forced himself to look up into her wet eyes. "I don't think I could manage"
Rose sniffled but somehow managed to keep her tears in check. "Don't be ridiculous" she said, putting on a brave face that the Doctor knew was fake . "You'd...be sad but you would have gotten on just fine...you always do"
The Doctor knew that Rose hoped her words we convincing but he could tell she was hoping that he would tell her the exact opposite. "No, Rose...I really wouldn't have" he said through a strained voice. "I'm...hurting so badly right now; it destroys me that our son died and I was powerless to stop it. If the same thing had happened to you...it would kill me"
The tears that had been cautiously contained in Rose's eyes were now beginning to run down her face. "'You don't...you don't mean that Doctor" she said. Her attempt to be brave was greatly lessened by the fact that she couldn't keep her tears in.
The Doctor stood up, breaking Rose's hold on his face as he took control, putting his hands on her wet cheeks. His eyes were deep with seriousness as he looked at her. It was imperative that Rose understood just how important she was, how lost he would be without her. She had come along with him when he was still a hardened, battle-torn man and she had made him feel again. She had made him love again and that was something that he had thought that he would never regain again.
"Rose...when are you ever going to get it in that think head of yours that you are special...so very special?" he asked with a watery laugh. "Don't you know how much I really need you?"
Rose looked at him open-mouthed; she really didn't know. The Doctor knew that was his fault for being so closed off but he hoped that right now in this moment he could remedy that situation. "I...I didn't know" Rose said simply and tearfully.
"I know it's my fault that you don't know how incredible you are, how much you mean to me" The Doctor said, "I should have told you this all a long time ago."
"All...what?" Rose asked scared, hopeful. The Doctor realized in that moment that she wanted to hear him say exactly what he was thinking of saying. It gave him the courage he needed to say it.
The Doctor smiled at her. He rubbed comforting circles on her cheeks with his thumbs. "I love you Rose….I love you with all of my hearts" he said looking deep into her eyes. "If I had lost you…..it would have killed me because you are so much more to me than my companion. You've become part of me…..a part of me that I can't live without. I loved you from the beginning. When I found you, I felt this strong connection to you that I didn't understand. I had been so damaged, so scared…..I was afraid to feel anything and I had become numb. When I met you, you started to make me feel things again. You've changed so much inside of me." The Doctor pulled her closer to him. "Rose, you saved me. You saved my life; when I met you, there was nothing left for me in this universe. You showed me there was a reason to live; that as long as I had you, I couldn't give up"
Rose's lip trembled as she looked up at him. "You…..really mean that?" she asked tearfully. Disbelief and happiness warred on her face. It was starting to become apparent that happiness was winning.
"Of course I do" The Doctor assured her. Happiness was blossoming on his face as he saw how much she wanted his adoration and love. She wasn't going to reject him; that he could finally believe. "I love you…..so very much. I've loved you a long time. I know I did too bloody good at hiding it. I didn't want to allow myself to admit it for fear of losing you one day. But whether I admit it or not, I'll still love you and it will still hurt even I never tell you" He put his arms around Rose and pulled her close to himself. He ran a hand through her golden locks and felt her shudder slightly under him. "Will you let me, Rose? Can you let me love you?"
The Doctor was almost sure Rose would not reject him in this moment. But that didn't stop him from feeling slight apprehension at the prospect that she might. The Doctor feared the moment he would have to be completely honest with her, about his past and about everything that he was. But for right now he knew he just wanted more and more of her. Even if it meant she might push him away one day. He had had but a taste of closeness with Rose and he couldn't rest until he had had more.
Rose gazed up at him in disbelief and joy. "You really think I could want less?" she asked with a small laugh. "I've been waiting for you to make a move, you daft alien" she said with a chocked laugh before becoming more serious. "I love you Doctor. I didn't know it until you left me that day, on Satellite 5. But I realized then that even if I died trying to get to you, it was better than not having you at all. I could never imagine anything less than what we have now. And I could only hope for more."
She was looking up at him hopefully, relief washing over her features. The Doctor knew what she wanted and while she had been the one to initiate it in the past, the Doctor would not let her this time. He reached out to her first, pulling her close to him as he leaned down and kissed her. It was a gentle, slow kiss but somehow it meant more than either of them could have imagined. It was the first time that they were both letting their feelings become obvious and launching into something new and scary and fantastic. They both knew they would have to learn to let go of the things they held on to but this was a wonderful start.
When they pulled back, Rose looked up at him, a smile on her face. "We're going to be okay?" she asked. Hope and yet a slight bit of fear remained in her voice. She was still, as always, checking on him to make sure that he was okay.
The Doctor gave her his biggest, and no doubt goofiest, grin. "We're going to be fantastic" he said brightly, pulling her into a hug.
Rose laid her head against the Doctor's chest, closing her eyes against the soft fabric of his pyjama shirt. The Doctor pulled the covers up closer to her and wrapped his arms around her. Rose was tired but she didn't want to fall asleep, not just yet. Things were good and for a moment she wasn't crying or feeling like her heart was going to break. As much trauma as she had suffered the past few days, she wanted to allow herself one moment of mental and emotional peace.
She and the Doctor sat in bed, the Doctor cradling her to him, warm and safe. She could hear his hearts beat and though they had been physically closer than this before, this somehow seemed more intimate. Though he had held her and kissed her before this was different because they didn't have the emotional barriers they had had before. When they kissed now it wasn't out of desperation or emotional outburst; it was because they openly wanted to.
Rose still couldn't quite believe the things that the Doctor has actually said to her, that he had admitted his feelings so open. Though she had always loved everything about him, his inability to open up about his feelings was not one of his strong points in her opinion. She had for so long wanted to hear the words that he had spoken to her today; ever since the moment she had realized that she had loved him, she longed to be closer to him. The past three months they had shared they had become closer than they ever had before but still Rose had begun to wonder if he would ever want to make this step with her. He had always pushed away when she tried to get closer to him, and though she knew that he cared about her, she had thought they would always remain just companions. She now knew why he had tried to fight his feelings. He had been scared of losing her; but she could assure him that as long as she lived, she was never going to leave him.
They had spent the rest of the day quietly in the TARDIS; Rose had called her mum and told her where she was so that she wouldn't worry about her. Without even saying anything about her situation with the Doctor, her mum had seemed to know and understand what was going on. The Doctor had made Rose eat some chips for dinner even though she had at first refused; she still felt pretty ill as her body fought to cope with the trauma that it had endured. But the Doctor had insisted and so Rose had given in and eaten them. By the time she had finished eating, she felt her strength all but gone. The Doctor had seemed to sense this and had made her a nice warm, relaxing bath. After some persuasion, she had even convinced him to get in the bath with her. Silence had prevailed throughout the day; there was more to be said but right now they were just relaxing in the knowledge that whatever they had to deal with, they would deal with together.
After the long bath, they had gone to back to what had slowly become their shared room. Too tired to do anything else, Rose had simple snuggled up against the Doctor. She fought sleep as long as she could but she was slowly being lulled to sleep by the sound of the Doctor's beating hearts under her ear.
"Do you wish it hadn't happened?"
Rose heard the Doctor's voice, quiet and timid in the dark. It was not a voice he used often and it made Rose sad. She turned so that she was looking up towards the Doctor, not letting go of her hold on him. "What?" she asked.
There was deep sadness in the Doctor's eyes. "Do you wish that I hadn't missed the time energy, that I had removed it all in the first place? None of this would have happened" he asked, his voice catching slightly before he could recover and sound normal. He was, honestly asking. At least some part of him genuinely wondered if she wished she had never become pregnant, never got to know the child that was so cruelly taken from them. And the answer was 100 percent no.
"No…..no I really don't" Rose said. "I don't wish for a second that this had never happened"
"But I…..this caused you so much pain" The Doctor said, his voice soft. He still felt like it was his fault for all of the pain that she had endured. While she had suffered, while she still felt like her heart might split open when she thought about little Pete, when she felt the complete emptiness of her womb like a wound that would never heal, too much good had come from it to wish it hadn't happened. She had gotten to see and feel love in a completely different way through the eyes of her child, had gotten to connect with him in his very mind. It was a gift no one else had. It had also brought her and the Doctor to the place where they could finally admit their feelings toward each other. She wasn't sure how she would have endured it if the Doctor had insisted that they go back to the way things had been after they had slept together.
"It did hurt…..it still hurts" Rose said honestly. "It's probably gonna hurt for a long time. But that doesn't mean that it wasn't worth it. I saw our baby as a mistake until you gave me the gift to see him for the wonderful miracle he was. You and me created him and it was amazing…..I got to hear his thoughts and feel what he felt for me. I got to feel his love for me and I got to experience love in a way that I never thought I would be able to." She pulled him close to her, giving him a small kiss on the lips before pulling back, a smile on her face. "And it brought me closer to you…..finally"
The Doctor smiled down at her with a found look on his face. "And that's a good thing?" he asked in jest.
Rose gave him a playful tap on the chest. "Of course it's a good thing!" she said with a laugh.
The Doctor had a smile on his face but it slowly faded. "You know though I can't…I mean we can't…" he said uncertainly as if unsure if he should say it.
"What?" Rose asked. He seemed nervous and upset and Rose wondered what could make him react this way.
The Doctor averted his eyes to the side, not wanting to look at Rose. "We can't…..I mean, if one day you wanted to…..we can never have another child." He said nervously. He seemed to shoulder all of the responsibility of the fact that they couldn't have a child; he also seemed unsure whether he should say anything. The statement spoke of deeper intimacy and he didn't seem to know whether Rose wanted that or not. Rose never would have imagined that she would actually want a family and she hadn't, not until her little time lord had changed her mind. The idea that she and the Doctor couldn't ever have a family did hurt; she hadn't realized how much she wanted it until it was gone. But the Doctor not being able to give her a child didn't stop the fact that she wanted to be with him. Rose didn't exactly know where their relationship was going; she knew no matter what that they would be taking things slow.
"You know, it's not your fault" Rose said, looking up into his eyes, put her arms around his neck and pulling herself closer to him, more easily than she would have thought possible. "It's just…..biology. It's not your fault"
"It's not your fault either" The Doctor said quietly. He was just too smart; he knew exactly where Rose's mind was going without it even being known to herself.
"Yeah…..yeah I suppose not" she said sadly before catching herself and sounding more positive. "But even if we can't…..ever have another child, that's not gonna stop me from wanting…" She paused, feeling an uncharacteristic blush come to her cheeks. "That's not gonna stop me from wanting to be with you. I still…I still love you" As much as Rose wanted to say those words to the Doctor, over and over again, she still found that they were a little shy on her lips. She had for so long had to hide how she really felt about him and now it was hard to believe that she got to tell him and show him how she felt.
The Doctor hugged her fiercely to himself. "I love you too" he said, almost desperately. "I love you so much….I just wanted to make sure you're not losing something by being with me"
Rose pulled back so she could look into his eyes. How he could honestly think she'd lose anything by being with him was stunning but it didn't surprise her. Deep down she thought maybe he envied humans with their simple, uncomplicated lives; he didn't want to steal Rose away from having one of these kinds of lives. But she had had one of those lives and the one that the Doctor had showed her was infinitely better. She couldn't imagine having any kind of life without him being a part of it. "I lose absolutely nothing by being with you, Doctor" she said honestly. "You showed me the stars, showed me the whole of time and space and it's wonderful. I can't imagine doing anything else or wanting anything else. I don't want a simple, easy life…..I want the only kind of life I can have with you"
The Doctor seemed to fall into his self-loathing place for a minuet as his face fell. Rose was relieved when it was replaced by a wide grin spreading ear to ear; the expression she so loved to see on his face. He hugged her tightly to himself. "You're crazy, Rose Tyler" he said happily, "But I love it"
The Doctor put his hands on the door to the nursery, his hearts aching. He knew he needed to close the room, to seal it off, but he found that he just couldn't do it. The Doctor was glad that Rose was nowhere in sight to witness the emotional turmoil inside him at the thought of forever sealing off this room. It wouldn't be the first time by any means that he had had to close a room because it was too painful; many a companion's rooms had been too painful after they had left that he had had to erase any trace of them. But this was different…..this was his son and he couldn't bear to erase this room; it had held such hope and promise, such love and warmth. Though now the room felt cold and depressing, he still needed it. He still needed to hold onto the one physical thing that was left of his child.
He wasn't okay; he didn't want Rose to know how truly not okay he was. He was thankful beyond words that she was alive and healthy, that she had managed to survive, yet again, something that should have killed her. But he should have been here when she needed him, when their child needed him. No matter how much they talked through the matter, no matter how many times she told him she didn't blame him for not being there, he would blame himself. His child was dead because of all of his mistakes; for not seeing the danger throughout the pregnancy, for not being there when he was dying…..for wasting time out amount the stars when he should have raced home after he did what he needed to do. He had made a tragic mistake, one he didn't want Rose to ever know about, and one that would forever haunt him with the question of whether he would have been able to save his son had he gotten here sooner.
He wasn't okay; but he had Rose and with Rose, he would eventually be okay. He still couldn't quite believe what was beginning to take place with him and her. Rose loved him; despite the horrible, damaged man he was she still loved him. He didn't deserve her at all but somehow this young, vibrant, amazing human loved the old, cynical, bitter time lord that he was. Fear still gripped him and was a very alive presence at the thought of how he could mess this up, that by being closer to her he could lose her forever. But it wasn't the thing at the forefront of his mind. For once, despite the despair and fear that swirled inside him, he felt that small and steadily growing warm feeling he had begun to associate with hope. With the consolation that Rose loved him, he was beginning to hope for something. And that had not happened in a very long time.
The Doctor took his hand slowly off the door, the door which behind so many hopeful memories were dying and disappearing, and had the TARDIS cloak it. He couldn't bear to delete the room, to close it so that he could never see it again. But he also didn't want its constant presence to be upsetting to Rose. He wanted the luxury to come back to it and let his memories haunt him, but he didn't want Rose to do the same.
The Doctor turned from the door, the one that he could now see, but Rose would not be able to. He began to walk down the corridor and into the console room, down the ramp and into the London air. It had been two weeks since Rose had lost the baby and she had been spending most of her time at her house with her mum. The Doctor had stayed close on hand most of the time but she also had seemed to benefit from sometime with just her mum. The Doctor was sure that there was some part of sharing her pain with another woman that helped and he had made sure to give her the space that she needed. Physically, it had taken her quite a while to heal; though everything was technically physically fine, her body had taken a toll. She slept a lot and couldn't manage to exert herself much at all. The Doctor was giving her all the space that she needed but he was relieved that she was now ready to be back on her feet again. He could feel grass beginning to grow under his feet and he needed to be among his beloved stars again.
The Doctor walked up through the building until he had reached the door that led to Rose and Jackie's flat. As had become his habit on the several months that they had been on Earth, the Doctor opened the door and let himself in, finding Rose and Jackie clearing lunch dishes from the table in the living room. Rose was balancing some plates on her hand when she turned and saw him. A smile spread across her face at seeing him. "Doctor….thought you got lost between here and the TARDIS" she said in gest. "You've entirely missed lunch"
The Doctor couldn't, and wouldn't, tell Rose he had been gone so long, sitting in their son's bedroom grieving him. His stomach and hearts were a swirling mess of sadness and happiness and he didn't think he could manage to eat a thing. He gave her a small smile. "I wasn't hungry anyway…..really just excited to get out into the stars"
Rose gave him a sympathetic smile; she knew how much of a sacrifice it had been to give up his traveling for as long as he had and she was appreciative of it. Too appreciative. "Well, I'm just finishing up in here and then we can get going" she said cheerily as she carried the dishes to the kitchen. Jackie followed after her, casting a sad expression in his direction. She knew that they were leaving but, as usual she wasn't prepared to let Rose go. She was even more reluctant to let Rose run off to the stars in light of what had happened; the Doctor could hardly blame her.
When Rose and Jackie emerged from the kitchen a few minutes later , Rose walked over to the Doctor, taking her side beside him, her hand sliding into his. The Doctor's cold fingers were quickly warmed by Rose's warm ones. "Well, I guess this is it, mum" she said slowly, somewhat nervously. "Me and the Doctor are going to go…..see more of the universe and all"
Jackie looked sad. "Are you sure that you're all healed up? Do you have to go so soon?" she asked, desperate for some way to hold onto her daughter. It had been so long since the Doctor had had to worry about his children, but his son had brought that paternal worry to the forefront of his mind. In light of that, he could understand and respect Jackie's reluctance to let Rose travel with him. While he saw Rose as a wonderfully capable and strong woman, she would always be Jackie's baby girl and he could understand how she felt the need to protect her.
"I'm fine, mum" Rose said, letting of the Doctor's hand and reaching out to hug Jackie. "I know you're worried but I really will be fine. You've been taking excellent care of me. I'll be fine"
Rose pulled back and Jackie was giving her a watery smile. "If you're sure you're ready to go running for those stars again, I guess I'll have to hand you over to his capable hands" she looked toward the Doctor, wagging a finger at him. "You better keep her safe, space man…no more life threatening situations" she admonished him, a smile coming to her lips.
The Doctor hid the dread that quickly came to the Doctor's mind at the words; Jackie was joking but her words had truth. Rose had been in danger a lot lately; far too much. And however vaguely, it had been all his fault. He had no intentions of letting such a thing happen to her again in the near future. "Trust me…..I have no plans on doing anything so dangerous any time soon" the Doctor said seriously. He was surprised when, a moment later, Jackie reached out and gave him a hug. It surprised him so much that he knew it showed on his face as Rose laughed beside him.
"I know you love her and you'll try…..you're doing fine. Just don't bloody leave her again" Jackie said so quietly that only the Doctor could hear. Her tone spoke of understanding and acceptance; she knew he cared about her and had good reason to leave but leaving her again was not acceptable.
"I won't…..I won't leave her again" The Doctor said quietly, breaking the hug. He turned toward Rose, who looked a little surprised and puzzled by the exchange but happy to see Jackie and him not at odds. She took the Doctor's hand again and gave it a gentle squeeze. "The Doctor will take great care of me, mum" Rose assured Jackie. "and we'll be back before you know it"
Jackie shrugged. "I couldn't stop you even if I tried" she said with resignation before giving a smile. "Have fun and stay safe"
The Doctor could feel Rose's excitement tinged with a little nervousness and reluctance as they left the comforts of Rose's house and walked back to the TARDIS. She was quiet but held onto his hand tightly. The Doctor was glad when entering the TARDIS he felt her unease dissipate and her excitement rise. It had been so long since they had traveled together, so long since they have left Earth together that excitement was just bristling on their edge of both of their minds.
Rose walked up to the console, circling around it, her hand touching the buttons almost lovingly, like greeting a long lost friend. The Doctor could feel the warm greeting of the TARDIS back to her; the feeling was mutual. Rose leaned back on the console, her arms crossed, a big smile on her face. She had that small sense of wonderment mixed with a slightly flirtaous smile that always made him weak in the knees. "So…..Doctor, where shall we go?" she asked, excitement tingeing her voice. She bounced slightly on her feet and it was obvious that she was just as excited about it as he was.
The Doctor felt his own excitement burst in his chest, filling his blood and running through each part of his being. He had slowly tried to squelch that part of himself when he was taking care of Rose and trying to be a good dad. But now, with his hearts broken from his lack of responsibility, a father no longer, he was more than ready to run. He wasn't sure that he would ever stop. "Any requests?" The Doctor asked, walking over to her, leaning on the console next to her. Rose looked at him and grinned. "It's been a long time…..make it somewhere good" she said, a small laugh on the end of her voice.
The Doctor pushed off the console, hitting buttons and levers with his characteristic excitement. "I think I might just have the perfect place, Rose" he said, with a wide grin. The TARDIS whirled to life, and Rose and the Doctor were knocked slightly off their feet. They regained their balance, Rose looking at the Doctor from across the console, awe on her face; he still didn't know how he got lucky enough for her to look at him like that.
Feeling that nagging worry at the back of his head, barely there amid the excitement, the Doctor had to ask, "Are we going to be okay, Rose?" It was the same question she had asked him so soon after the death of their child.
With a grin on her face, Rose answered the same way he had. "Yes…..we're going to be fantastic"