They were hopping for their lives, pushing through the undergrowth and holding onto each other like their lives depended on it. Both wondered how they’d got there, just one stumble away from the end of everything. They knew they should be terrified, being one trip away from capture and execution, but for now they were together and that was enough to have them both grinning.
The Doctor lifted his gaze to Rose, fear running through every fibre of his being. They could be one second away from their deaths, but he would never let her fall alone, they’d go down fighting, together, hand in hand, the Doctor and Rose. One moment could mean the end of them both, but there was Rose all smiles and laughter with not a hint of worry on her face and that gave him courage that they would make it. He gripped her hand tighter, wanting to promise that they’d make it but she beat him to it, looking up at him with those beautiful brown eyes and saying just the right words like she always did.
Before he knew it they were falling into the TARDIS, Rose stumbling up the ramp and collapsing with a mix of exhaustion and laughter. The Doctor ran to the console, flicking some switches to send the ship flying into the Time Vortex. With a sigh of relief he dropped to the floor beside Rose, pulling her into his arms as he burst into laughter, filled with his love for her. “Hopping! Who would have known? Rose Tyler you are a genius! Fantastic you are and full of great ideas, no one else could have come up with the solution.” He grinned as she finally caught her breath, eyes sparkling as she looked up at him. “Saving the world one hop at a time.” He stopped to soak in everything about her, for a moment he felt younger than he ever had before he’d met her. “I wouldn’t have gotten out of there without you.” He framed her face with his hands, pressing a chaste kiss to her forehead. “Thank you.”
She sighed with contentment, pressing her face into his leather jacket and breathing in the smell of her Doctor. “You don’t need to thank me, I keep telling you. We’re a team, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” She slipped her arms around him, running her fingers up and down his back.
“No, Rose. Thank you for everything. Just thank you being here.”
She looked up at him, a smile playing on her lips. “I’ve told you; you’re stuck with me. You’re not alone anymore, you’ve got me.”
Rose was gently drawn from her sleep as the Doctor began to stroke her hair. “Doctor.” She brought a hand up to her face, rubbing at her eyes.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to wake you.” He kissed the top of her head, arm wrapping tighter around her as he continued to play with her hair. “I know you’re tired, it’s been a long day. Go back to sleep.”
She smiled despite her drowsiness. “I might be able to if you stopped fidgeting. You don’t have to stay here, you know that right? It can’t be much fun when you don’t sleep as long as I do. I wouldn’t blame you for getting bored.” She shifted to look up at him.
“I’m not bored, Rose. I want to be here, you think I’d miss this?” He kissed her forehead. “You are so, so beautiful and I could never get bored of this. I get to fall asleep with you in my arms, watch you smile in your sleep, wake up to you every morning, the one adventure I thought I could never have.”
She leant up to kiss him. “Can you please stop playing with my hair then? Just let me sleep, I’m absolutely shattered.”
“Sorry. It’s just so soft, and the colour is amazing, unique even. I think I’m going to call it ‘Rose Tyler blonde’, actually I’ve been calling it that for a while now, in my head that is. Oh I’m babbling, sorry, go to sleep.”
With a smile she rested her head back on his chest, the rhythm of his two hearts lulling her back to sleep. “I love you.”
“Shh. I love you too.”
“Oh Rose, my beautiful, beautiful Rose.” The Doctor pulled her into his lap, brown eyes filling with tears at the sight of her crying. She nestled into him, shaking in his embrace as silent sobs wracked through her. He pulled her closer, promising that before long she’d be smiling again; he’d have her crying with laughter and feeling as happy and loved as she made him feel. The only tears he ever wanted to see her cry were ones of joy.
“I don’t care what you say, Doctor, that’s definitely not a cake.”
“But Rose, looks can be deceiving. Just because it doesn’t look like a cake, doesn’t mean it’s not a cake.”
“And sometimes, it doesn’t look like a cake because it’s just not a cake.” She laughed as he pulled a face at her, failing miserably at looking insulted. “Is that a cake?” She pointed at the stall opposite the food stall they were stood at. “Is that book really a cake? I mean that’s some skill to make each page look like paper.”
“Shut up.” He nudged her with his elbow. “A fiver says that that so called apple is a cake.”
“Ten quid says it’s not.” She grinned, knowing he wouldn’t be able to resist. “And when the stall owner gets back we ask her what it is.”
“Deal. Be prepared to lose your money, Rose Tyler.”
She bit her lip, suppressing a laugh. “Oh yeah? Let’s see what she has to say about it.” She nodded to indicate the return of the stall owner.
A young woman with long black hair was peering at them from across the stall. “Can I help you?”
“Yes, you can help me win a bet.” The Doctor grinned. “This fruit isn’t fruit is it? That apple is definitely not an apple, am I right?” She nodded. “Ha! See, Rose? I win!”
She laughed, leaning into him. “No, our bet was whether it’s cake or not.”
“It is cake like.” The woman interrupted them. “But I’m afraid your wife is right, it’s not a cake, technically it’s a biscuit.”
Rose laughed. “Ha! Hand it over, ten quid please.”
The Doctor looked down at his hand, the gold ring sparkling in the light. Wife. “How did you know?”
“Oh that’s easy. I was talking to her about it earlier.”
“What’s this?” Rose curled her fingers around the pendant that had been dropped into her hand. She looked up at the Doctor expecting an answer, but instead was met with his grinning face. “It’s so beautiful, Doctor, thank you. But it’s not a special occasion, so why?”
“Because I love you.” He cupped her face, brushing his thumb across her cheek.
Her grin matched his as she leant into him. “What is it?” She ran her fingers over the smooth stone, marvelling at the way it glowed as if responding to her touch.
“That’s starlight trapped at its centre, other than that it’s just a regular gemstone.” He wrapped his hand around hers and Rose watched the light shine brighter before fading again.
“Starlight?” The Doctor slipped an arm around her waist, kissing the top of her head, the stone glowed brighter. “But it’s sort of blue or green, and why does it glow like that, shouldn’t starlight be constant?”
“Its turquoise, like the TARDIS’ central column, not all starlight is white and yellow, some stars burn with other colours. The glow, well…” He swallowed, Rose turned to look up at him. “It sort of, well, it’s special in the way that it feeds off happiness and love, don’t ask me how, I didn’t stop to ask, but when it glows brighter it’s soaking in even more love.” He carefully took the TARDIS key from round her neck, adding the pendant to the chain.
She smiled as it glowed in his hand. “Yours or mine?”
“Rose! Rose. Rose. Come on, Rose! Don’t make me drag you out here!” The Doctor stuck his head back into the TARDIS, Rose came running across the console room having finally found a hat she deemed suitable. He grabbed her hand, tugging her out the door and closing the TARDIS behind them. “Now Rose, this planet is eighty thousand light years away from earth. It’s the year 1473 and it’s yet to be inhabited. We’re the first people ever to stand on this planet.” He jumped on the spot, grinning as she copied him.
“What’s it called?”
“Doesn’t have a name. In a few thousand years it’ll just be categorised with a number.”
“That’s so sad, it’s so beautiful though. Albeit a little windy.”
The Doctor grinned, pulling the hat off her head. “You love the wind. The wind is amazing, it’s half of what makes the planet so beautiful.” He slipped an arm round her, pointing at the horizon. “The sun’s setting, look at all the colours the sand makes as it flies across the sky, wouldn’t have that without the wind.”
Rose’s hands flew up to her head, trying to hold her hair down and away from her face. She was failing miserably and knew she should be annoyed at him but she couldn’t manage it, he was right, it was beautiful, and he looked utterly gorgeous all windswept and gazing at the sunset. “So much for keeping my hair in place. It was worth it though.”
He pulled her closer, looking her in the eye. “Honestly you have nothing to worry about. Doesn’t matter if you’ve been caught in the wind, you still look amazing. You’re always beautiful, Rose.”
“Rose.” She woke with a start, the tone of the Doctor’s voice sent a shiver down her spine. It sounded so real, it was times like these that she hated her imagination. Far too many times she’d dreamt that the Doctor was in danger and screaming for her. She hated it, truly hated it, even more so when she woke with no memory of the dream. “Rose!”
She leapt out of bed, suddenly all too aware that it hadn’t been a dream, he was really calling her and he sounded terrified, there was so much pain in his voice. She padded across the hall to the Doctor’s room to find him curled up in bed, face screwed up in pain and her name still on his lips. She was sure she’d never seen him so vulnerable. “Doctor.” She grasped his hand tightly in her own, the other hand cupping his cheek. “Wake up, I’m here. I’m not going anywhere, yeah?”
He woke more gently than she expected him to, but his expression didn’t relax. “Rose.” He looked up at her, blue eyes full of fear. “I was so scared.” The tears in his eyes broke her heart; for once she had no idea what to say to help. He tugged her into his arms, clinging to her like she’d disappear if he let go.
“It’s just a nightmare, Doctor. You’re safe.” Maybe it wasn’t just a nightmare; it was the Time War haunting him, but it was more important for him to know he was safe. “Night terrors, just like I get sometimes. But I’m here for you Doctor, you’re not alone.”
He tightened his arms around her. “Please don’t leave me. I can’t go back to being lonely.”
“I’m not going anywhere, Doctor. I’m never leaving you.”
Rose burst into laughter as the Doctor reached into the top kitchen cupboard. He stretched to reach the back, glancing at her before returning to his search for the elusive tea bags. “What are you laughing at? Do I have something on my nose?” He looked down at her from his position, knee half balanced on the counter. When she laughed even more he wrinkled his nose, going cross eyed in an attempt to see if he was right. “What? Stop it Rose!”
She grinned, pointing at the source of her laughter. There just above the waist band of his pinstriped trousers, a strip of material, TARDIS blue and decorated with little red roses. “Even your pants are silly!”
“Have you been talking to Dad?” Rose laughed, squeezing the Doctor’s hand as she caught sight of the shiny balloon that was tied to the TARDIS’ railings. He dragged her further into the console room, a smile on his lips as he pulled her into his arms.
“No, whatever makes you say that? Happy Anniversary!”
“You already said that, twice. And I say that because that’s the exact same balloon that he got Mum for their first anniversary.”
He pulled a face at her. “Oh don’t ruin it! I’m making an effort here, being romantic and all that.”
She smiled. “I take it all back, I love it, I love you.”
Later when all the fuss had died down, the Sycorax had been defeated and he’s lounging around the TARDIS in his pinstriped suit, Rose finds him in the library, she sits beside him studying his new face but when he looks at her she bites her lip. “What really happened? With the Daleks I mean. I remember looking into the TARDIS and then… I don’t know, there was this light and just so much energy and knowledge and I can’t make sense of it anymore, I think I did at the time but now it’s mostly just this…” She closes her eyes, concentrating on the memory. “Light, I guess.” She deliberately doesn’t mention the one bit that is clear; ‘I think you need a Doctor’ and his lips against hers.
His hand is cupping her cheek before he realises he’s moved. “Don’t. You’ll hurt yourself, there’s a reason you can’t remember it. But you saved me Rose, you saved the entire planet below, you’re the Bad Wolf and you took control of space and time.” He takes his hand away, knowing if he doesn’t then he won’t be able to stop himself kissing her. “You took the energy from the heart of the TARDIS and ended the Time War, you were brilliant. Thank you.” He kisses her forehead and can’t help but smile as she slips her arms around his waist and nestles into his embrace.