Disclaimer: Doctor Who isn't mine. If it was things would be quite different. The BBC owns all and I bow before them.
Written for several prompts: A nonny on tumblr - Rose and Tentoo after BWB2: "How can you think I'm anything but hopelessly in love with you?" and doctorroseprompts on tumblr prompt from July: 'I'm here not because I am supposed to be here, or because I'm trapped here, but because I'd rather be with you than anywhere else in the world' (though I modified one word), as well as their general request for Tentoo x Rose for 10/2. I'm a bit early due to a hectic work schedule tomorrow and having to pack for vacation. Besides... while most of the world doesn't write it the way Americans do, it is already 10/2 in much of the world, so HAPPY 10/2! :D
Many thanks to TenRoseForeverandEver for fantastic beta services.
The Doctor's left arm was well in the throes of paresthesia, but he wouldn't move it for anything in the world. The movie they'd been watching on the telly was over, but there was nothing he'd rather watch than Rose Tyler nestled against this shoulder, sound asleep.
He had missed her. It'd been a trying first week in Pete's World. After the emotion (and brilliant kiss) on Bad Wolf Bay he'd been hopeful. He was reunited with the love of his lives and nothing was more important that that.
But despite them holding hands as they watched the TARDIS depart, that closeness had dissipated somewhere on the zeppelin ride to London. Rose hadn't been cruel, but he'd seen the grief wash over her, and despite his assurances he was the same man, her Doctor, they were living like roommates. Together, but not… and so he still missed her. Missed her touch, her laughter, everything. From their earliest days together he'd always held her hand and now that was gone and it felt like a piece of her had gone with it. Reunited yet… not.
The Doctor had never dreamed that he could mourn her when she was right next to him. When she smiled it certainly wasn't fake, but it didn't light up her eyes and her tongue never peeked out the corner of her mouth the way it used to when she smiled at him. She was clearly mourning his Time Lord self and she deserved time. Loquacious though he was about a billion topics under the sun, he didn't know how to broach the issue… or how to make the sadness in her eyes go away.
So, when Rose had suggested a movie night, he had readily agreed. She'd settled in on the couch next to him, but put the popcorn bucket between them. The popcorn bucket was deep and remained there for most of the movie as they nibbled on the treat, but near the climax it was finally empty. Rose had glanced at him as she set it on the coffee table and then after a brief hesitation where he tried to express what he felt with his eyes (also loathe to speak and ruin possible progress), she had cuddled up right next to him, resting against his arm and shoulder. The Doctor breathed in the glorious scent of Rose and rejoiced for the first time in a week.
Rose had nodded off thirty minutes ago as the credits rolled, but the Doctor would never move her. Not until nature compelled him or she moved herself. If he had his druthers, he too would fall asleep next to her, his head against hers.
An hour had passed when the first murmur came from Rose. Her brow furrowed and a small whimper escaped from her lips. He delicately reached for her hand, careful not to move any more than necessary and rubbed his hand over her knuckles, hoping to chase away whatever was disturbing her rest. "I'm here, Rose," he whispered, continuing the back and forth motion.
Her face calmed and for another ten minutes all was quiet. Then her breathing quickened and a 'no' escaped her lips.
"Not again, Doctor," she further mumbled. "Don't leave. I…" Her words died with a muffled sob as she buried her nose in his shoulder.
The words were a blow to his heart. He was sure he knew what was causing her distress. She still wanted the man he had once been. Pushing his hurt aside (now was not the time), he worked to rouse her.
"Rose," he said softly, as he moved so he was looking at her face to face, instead of glancing down at her.
She blinked her eyes slowly and then met his gaze.
"You were dreaming," he stated.
Rose swallowed and nodded, then looked away.
"I'm sorry he left you like that, love," the Doctor continued, but she interrupted him.
"Please don't call me that."
Another strike on his heart, but he pushed on. If Rose was doubting him, that had to be addressed. It might not be the best time for a really long conversation, but he couldn't let that go.
"But you are… and I do. How can you think I'm anything but hopelessly in love with you?"
"He left me," she said, casting her eyes down. "I crossed universes, and he left me. Trapped you here, a man that doesn't like to stay still. And," Rose paused, taking a deep breath, "you're the same man. How long before you run too? A Time Lord without a TARDIS? On the slow path?"
"Oh, Rose," he breathed out slowly. He was elated and somber at the same time. She'd been dreaming about him, not the Time Lord. But their actions had also cast doubt on her heart, of the depth of their love for her.
Pausing for a few moments, he considered his next words. His actions would be the most telling in the future, but how could he explain to her the depth of what he felt?
"While we were separated I traveled back to 1913 with Martha. There was this family after me and they wanted to consume me so they could gain near immortality. I used this machine. A Chameleon Arch, it was called. It could rewrite biology. I made myself human."
Rose raised an eyebrow and he continued.
"They were after a Time Lord and they couldn't trace me when I was no longer one. But in becoming human I lost all sense of who I was. Thought I was a bloke called John Smith. A school teacher. But certain things seeped through. I had these dreams of the lives I had lived but thought they were just that - dreams. But the dream that was most vivid, most real…" The Doctor paused and took her hand. "It was you, Rose. I didn't know who I was, but I knew I loved this fantastic woman and that I had lost her."
A tear trickled down Rose's cheek at his words.
"What I'm trying to say, this: I'm here not because I am supposed to be here, or because I'm trapped here, but because I'd rather be with you than anywhere else in the universe. I've been without the TARDIS, and I've been without you. I know which one is infinitely preferable. I knew and loved you when I didn't even know who I was."
More tears trailed down her cheeks and he wrapped both of his arms around her. "He left us here because he wanted you to have the very best life. He wanted to give you everything that he couldn't himself. So I'll do that for both of us. I can't promise I won't grow restless from time to time, and I'll make mistakes, but I'm not going anywhere, Rose Tyler."
He caressed her name lovingly for only the second time since Bad Wolf Bay and this time a smile (though tear stained) finally made it to her eyes.
"You once promised me forever and now can I give you mine. Just like I wanted to outside that cafe. Nothing means more to me than that. So no more bad dreams, love. This life with you is a gift and I'm not going anywhere because I'm exactly where I want to be."
Taking a tissue from the box on the end table, Rose blew her nose and then dabbed at her eyes. Setting it aside, she curled back into him.
"I love you, Doctor," she whispered, as she ran a hand over his very happy human heart.
"I love you too, Rose."
He pressed a kiss to the crown of her head and neither spoke for the rest of the night, content to spend it in each other's arms.