"Bella, wake up," the Doctor shook his wife's shoulder. "I need to tend your hands."

"Mmgnh!" Bella mumbled. She opened her eyes briefly and closed them again.

"No. Come on, wake up!" he said more firmly, giving her another shake.

Bella groaned again, finally focusing her bleary eyes upon him. "Can't it wait?"

"No. If I had known how bad they were I would have treated them last night. Now, get up."

Bella let out a small cry as she tried to sit up on the bed before allowing herself to relax back onto the covers. "I'm too stiff to move. Let's do it later."

"Tough. You wouldn't have been hurt at all if you had went back to the Tardis like I told you. Up!" He placed an arm beneath her shoulders and forced her into a sitting position.

"Ow! Quit it!" Bella snapped, too stiff to fight. "Did you wake me up just to bitch?"

The Doctor's eyes flashed. "You deliberately disobeyed me, then wandered off and almost got yourself killed! What were you thinking, running up a set of burning stairs!?"

Bella hit him with a grumpy glare. "They weren't exactly burning when I started up them," she clarified. "Besides, I had to save Frederick."

"And how did that work out, eh? You got yourself trapped! You're lucky I managed to get you out of there before that landing collapsed. Now, come on."

Bella groaned as he helped her to her feet. He watched closely, looking for signs that this was something other then general stiffness. It didn't appear that way but he resolved to give her a complete scan just in case. She tried to turn her neck to watch when he moved behind her. "What are you doing?"

"Getting you out of that dress. Can't be comfortable; I'm surprised you managed to fall asleep in it as easily as you did." Bella accepted his attentions as he set to work removing the tattered gown and underclothing. He gave a quick smack to her arm when she tried to doze off yet again.

"Ouch! Quit it!" Bella jumped in surprise. "What the hell? You just slapped me!"

"Then stay awake," the Time Lord ordered firmly. He placed his hand at the small of her back after he got her down to the last set of layers and propelled her to march to the Infirmary.

"Can't I at least get a cup of coffee first?" Bella asked as he guided her along.

"No. Your hands are in bad shape and you might have other injuries."

Bella snorted. "My hands are fine. They don't even hurt. See?" She tapped one of the small spots on her palms with a fingertip to demonstrate.

The Time Lord knocked her hands apart. "You have third degree burns! The nerve centers are damaged, so quit picking!"

Bella rolled her eyes. "Will you quit being so dramatic? I'm fine! God, you're worse than a girl!"

The Doctor turned on her. "Fine? You call almost dying and suffering third degree burns fine?" He worked his mouth, trying to find the words that would make his wife see reason. Failing, he continued propelling her down the corridors.

"I'm not a baby, Doctor," Bella said gently. "I know you mean well but you don't have to coddle me."

"Bella," the Time Lord stopped, turning to look at her. "You are my wife. Not a child, not a companion, my wife. It's my job to keep you safe and I intend to do just that whether you want me to or not. We're all that's left, you and I; I'll not risk losing you."

Bella's eyes softened as she gazed up at her husband. "I'm sorry I scared you but really, I'm okay."

"I'll be the judge of that."

The Time Lord quickly set to work as soon as Bella was seated on one of the Infirmary beds. He cleaned her hands then began using the dermal regenerator to heal the damaged layers one by one.

Bella tried pulling her hand out of his grip. "That's starting to hurt," she complained.

"That's because the nerves are growing back."

"Well stop, it hurts." she tugged at the hand again.

The Doctor sighed, put down the regenerator and released her hand. He walked over to a cabinet and pulled out a vial. Loading it into a narrow cylinder, he walked back over to his wife. "I'm giving you an analgesic," he explained, placing the cylinder to her neck and triggering a hiss. "It might make you a bit groggy but don't get any ideas about going back to sleep. I want you awake for a bit."

"Thanks," Bella said, giving him back her hand when he reached for it.

"There. All sorted," he told her several minutes later as he watched Bella examine the fresh pink skin on her palms. "They'll be tender for a few days while the skin toughens up but you'll be fine. I gave you an antibiotic just in case of infection as well. Now lay down so I can scan you."

Bella sighed deeply but didn't argue as she obeyed. The Time Lord could tell that the analgesic was mixing with her general sleepiness as her eyes began drifting shut but he wasn't ready to let her sleep yet; he quickly began the scanning process before she could doze off. Other than the burns, general stiffness, and exhaustion she was fine. Breathing a sigh of relief, he helped her off the bed and led her back to their bedroom.

"Coffee?" Bella asked hopefully as they walked past the kitchen.

"Not yet," the Doctor responded.

Bella paused, a quizzical look on her face, when he moved to guide her past their bed and towards their ensuite. "What are you doing?"

The Doctor smiled. "You'll see."

He left her side once they entered the bathroom, moving over to the tub and turning on the water. As it was running he sprinkled some mineral salts in the tub.

"Are you running me a bath?" Bella asked. The Time Lord forced himself not to grin at the amazement in her voice.

"Something like that," he responded as he removed his jacket and tie. He felt Bella's eyes watching him as he continued to undress; it soothed his ego to know that his young wife found him attractive.

"Don't," he ordered her gently when she reached to remove the last of her Victorian underthings. "That's my job."

"Okay," Bella squeaked. She was awake now. The Time Lord saw his wife swallow reflexively as her face began to flush. His eyes never left hers while he finished removing the rest of his clothes.

Task finished, he stepped behind his wife. He placed his hands upon her shoulders and lightly brushed his fingertips down her arms, past her hands, and down her sides until he reached the hem of her chemise. He could hear her breathing quicken as he lifted it over her head.

He slowly walked around to her front. Crouching, he undid the drawstring holding her drawers in place and pulled them to the floor.

Standing back up, he cupped Bella's heated face in his hands and tilted her face up. "Look at me," he said when she failed to meet his gaze. He smiled tenderly when she obeyed.

"Sometimes I don't think you understand what you mean to me," he told her softly, rubbing one thumb across her cheek. "Let's fix that, eh?"

Bella's eyes widened as she nodded.

He released her and turned to shut off the water. "Don't," he said when he heard her begin to shift; she stilled. He stirred the water with one hand to verify the temperature and ensure that the mineral salts he had added were thoroughly distributed; they would help ease her muscle discomfort.

He turned slightly, reaching out a hand and taking her smaller one in his to help her step inside the tub. Bella remained silent but he could feel her mind buzzing with anticipation. He forced his mind to remain calm; he wanted his wife off-balance.

After Bella was seated in the warm water he stepped in the tub and sat down behind her; he stretched his long legs out on each side of her body. She turned to watch as he dipped a cloth in the water before lathering it with soap.

"Doctor..." his wife began when he shifted her hair over one shoulder.

"Shh," he said.

He rubbed the soapy cloth in small circles on her back. Bella moaned; he could feel her muscles relax with his ministrations. He scooped some water up and rinsed her well.

"Scoot forward and tilt your head back," he instructed. He washed her hair when she obeyed.

"Turn around and let me get your front," he said next.

Every time she attempted to speak he shushed her into silence. He wanted her to focus on feelings, not conversation.

He stilled her hand when she reached for the cloth. "No," he whispered.

Her eyes were puzzled. "But why?"

"Because this isn't about me," he told her softly. He had actually showered earlier in preparation.

After his wife was clean he turned her around and leaned her against her chest. Wrapping his arms around her, he rested his cheek against the top of her head and sighed. It felt good to have her close.

When the water began to cool he got out of the tub and quickly dried off. "Don't," he said when she went to stand up. When he was ready, he reached for her and helped her exit the tub.

He wrapped a towel around her, drying her off as gently as he had just bathed her. He ran a comb through her freshly cleaned hair to remove any tangles.

"Doctor, I..."

"Shush," he commanded once again. Bella stilled.

Satisfied, the Time Lord placed his hand in the small of her back and guided her into their bedroom. He felt her watching him as he turned down the covers, felt her mind make a leap of anticipation and he stifled a smile in response.

"Come on," he said as he helped her into bed. Entering with her, he nudged her to turn away from him.

He felt her confusion through the bond. "But I thought..."

"Shush." the Doctor said as he wrapped his arms around his wife and kissed the back of her shoulder. "Go back to sleep."

And she did.