Beginning after the Satan Pit
There is no real night on the TARDIS, but the lights have to go out at some time so that whatever fragile human is on board can have a chance to recharge. The TARDIS did all it could to quiet the echoes of the Doctor's slow, gentle footsteps down one of its dark, winding halls. It knew when he was trying to be sneaky, and it also knew he could use all the help he could get. Rose was a heavy sleeper, but the idea of waking her up like this was too embarrassing to think about.
Before he knew it he was standing outside her room, noiselessly inching the door open to gaze inside. All he could see was the foot of her bed. Her short frame did not even reach the end of the mattress and he sighed in frustration. He hesitantly opened it a bit wider, leaning his head into the room. Great job, Doctor, he thought to himself shamefully. Every girl wants to wake up to find out some old man is peaking at them in their bedroom.
This wasn't about peaking, he reminded himself, trying to justify his actions. He just had to see her, he just had to make sure she was alright.
A wide grin broke across his face when he caught sight of her tangled mop of hair, folded peacefully over half her face. Her breathing was steady, the slow rise and fall of the blankets stilled his shaking hands. It was only for a moment that he had doubted her today, being faced with the body of Satan himself, if that was what it was. For a fleeting moment he imagined the rocket Rose was in falling into the black hole. To never see her again, to imagine her being crushed into nothing, to not be able to even say goodbye…it had snapped something inside him, something he didn't even know he had left.
He had kept his eyes trained on her since they made it back to the TARDIS, at least as much as he could without her noticing. Every movement she'd made since he'd seen her safe had been mesmerizing. It was not as if he had not watched her before, but never to this extent. He had to see her again tonight, he had to know she was safe. Sure enough, there was Rose Tyler, the shop girl, the Bad Wolf, the only thing in the universe that managed to consistently surprise him at every turn. There she was curled up into a comfy pink bundle, clutching her blankets to herself, sleeping away like the normal, fantastic human she was.
You've had your look, he told himself, now close the door and go mind your own business. He bit at his lip, willing his feet to move. He was almost ready to walk out, any second now.
"Have I slept too long again?"
He froze in place, hoping she was talking in her sleep.
Rose rolled to the side, one hand venturing out of the covers to grab her alarm clock from her end stand. She pulled the little clock into the blankets with her for a moment, then sat up suddenly, looking at in shock. "Did I sleep for thirteen hours?"
"What?" he asked.
"I went to bed at ten. The clock says eleven. Did I seriously sleep for half a day?" she hopped out of the bed and started pulling at her dresser drawers. "Sorry, you must have been so bored waiting for me."
He shifted uncomfortably at her door. "It… no it hasn't been that long. You've only been asleep an hour or so."
She stopped searching through her tops and looked at him in confusion. "Then why did you come to wake me up?" her eyes went wide. "Is something wrong?"
"No!" he said, backing away a bit. "Sorry to wake you. I'll just—yeah, you get some rest," he said far too quickly as he started out the door.
"Hang on," she called firmly.
He popped his head back in, a mask of perfect innocence "Yes?"
"What were you doing in here then? If you weren't coming to wake me up, what did you want?"
"I…the, uh, the TARDIS kind of jerked to the side…I thought maybe you could have fallen out of bed. I just wanted to check on you to see if you—well not check on, you don't need to be checked on, that's the wrong…word…"
"Was there an end to that sentence?" she smiled at him.
"Well…No, I have no idea where I was going with that. Goodnight," he waved quickly, trying to disappear again.
"Hey!" she called, going after him and catching him in the doorway. "I didn't feel the TARDIS jerk."
"No? Well that's good. Maybe she shielded your room and kept it stable for you." He patted the doorway. "That's my girl. Always on the lookout."
"This is new," she said with a hint of a grin on her face.
"I've never seen you at a loss for words."
He opened his mouth wide to say something, but nothing came out, so he quickly closed it.
Her smile grew. "Why were you really in here?"
"I was just checking to make sure you were okay after…well after everything."
"Rose, you almost died today. That bothers most people."
"Oh," she said, the smile faltering as she turned her back to him trying to run a brush through her tangled mane. "I guess it would. Maybe I'm just getting a bit used to it."
He chuckled once. "You do seem to get into a lot of trouble."
"Oi! Not before you showed up. I had 19 trouble-free, boring years thank you very much."
"It doesn't bother you that you almost fell into a black-hole today?"
"I wasn't the one fighting the devil."
"I hardly fought him," he scoffed. "I shouted at his physical form. You threw the actual mind of Satan out of a rocket. That's a bit more impressive—" he stopped himself, suddenly realizing what he was saying.
She hopped back into bed, setting her brush aside and trying to pull it all together into a bun. "I'm glad you're safe too, Doctor. If you don't mind I'm going try to catch a bit more sleep."
"Oh yes!" he said, a bit too loudly. "Lots to do tomorrow. I'm thinking about swinging by the Olympics! 2012, or 2016, I'm not sure which yet. Both were really, very excellent, wait until you see England's opening ceremony—wow, absolutely amazing. I was about to pop in once before but I landed too close to the speakers, I swear the whole audience heard me. They were nice enough not to complain but—"
"Oh, good. You're back to normal." Rose smiled as she settled back into the covers.
He blushed. "Sorry, right, humans and their sleep. I'll just—"
"Would you… stay with me for a while?"
"What? Why?" he asked, hoping she couldn't hear the way his hearts had simultaneously skipped a beat."
She scooted to one side of the bed. "It was tough for me today too, you know. You said you'd come back if I let you go down there, and then I thought you were trapped down there. They were going to leave you, you know. Both of you. They said there was no other way."
"I'm sorry," he said automatically. "I didn't mean to scare you."
"We're okay. Will you stay in here for a while? I just want to be able to know you're safe. Does that make any sense?"
He grinned. "Yeah. No problem, Rose," he said, sinking into the old rocking chair next to her bed.
"Um," she stuttered a bit, scooting to the far side of the bed, "I mean, stay here. With me."
"Oh," he said, trying to read her expression. Don't, that nagging voice in his head warned him. He leaned over and laid on top of the covers, laying his hands over his chest innocently where the intense double-rhythm in his chest was beating out a samba. What are you doing? You are nine hundred years old. Imagine how this would look if someone saw you two like this!
Rose chuckled a bit at the lost expression on his face, then scooted a bit closer and took one of his hands in hers. "Goodnight, Doctor."
"Goodnight, Rose," he said softly.
She leaned over swiftly and gave him a chaste peck on the lips, then laid back against the pillows and closed her eyes. He sat up, staring at her for several minutes. She was pretending to be asleep, but he knew better. She was controlling her breathing so that it looked even, but it was a façade. His eyes flitted down to her hand, folded delicately around his. This wasn't new, they held hands all the time. Closeness wasn't new. Something about this though, was entirely uncharted territory. The little voice whispered sharply in his head. Don't you dare! You get out of this bed and get back to the console room. If you do this you could ruin everything! This is Rose Tyler, your best friend, your companion.
He nodded to himself, gently sitting up and trying to force himself to leave her. Her hand was still on his and when he looked back to her she was staring up at him, two pairs of brown eyes meeting wordlessly. She always managed this—somehow she spoke to him with no words. Without aface once in the fifties, she'd still had this spark in her, this indescribable that brought something entirely new to the equation. He gasped when he felt something new, a voice he had heard before, whispering in the back of his mind, but had always ignored.
This is Rose Tyler. You're best friend. What if it doesn't end badly? What if you tell her everything, and she feels the same way. It will end eventually, she will die before you, but why not grasp at every second?
Without another word he leaned over and kissed her, grasping at her like the last life preserver on the boat. She grabbed him back tightly; if he had been human it would have hurt. He broke away from her, reminding himself that humans didn't have a respiratory bypass system.
"I love you," he babbled incoherently against the skin of her neck as she clung to him. "Rose, never scare me like that. Never ever let me think you're dead again."
"I promise," she said, leaning back to see his face.
Time crept on in the way it does aboard the TARDIS, but neither would notice that night.
Far away, unknown to the Doctor or his companion, a Professor Carlton Edwards at the University of Colorado was locking his office door. Only minutes before he had received a letter, a terrible letter, from an old friend. The problem was, that friend was dead.
It had been a terrible blow, a few weeks before, to hear that his old colleague Miles Frobisher had disappeared. It was much worse a few days later when he heard the man's body had turned up not one mile from his own home. Miles had lived in Cardiff, and for him to turn up in Colorado—so close to Edward's home—it meant something.
Then, today, a letter had arrived from Cardiff. It was from Miles, but dated several months before the man had died. It simply read:
We are in trouble, my friend. If this letter has been sent to you by my attorney, it means I was not able to get to you in person to warn you about our imminent danger. You, Professor Edwards, are one of the smartest individuals I've ever met, and I'm proud to call you my equal. However, it seems the thing that has brought us together will be our downfall. Hide yourself— tell no one where you're going, just get out of the University as soon as possible and run.
The letter was helpful, or it would have been, but it was too late. Carlton Edwards locked his door, then turned around to face his empty office. Then he screamed.