When There's No Trust

Chapter Rating: K+

A.N: Here it is! Here it is! One more chapter left. Phew. Here's this one anyway. Hope you like it?

Chapter XXIII – Sewing the Wounds

The Doctor sat down in the chair by Rose's bed and took her hand. He was still staring at her, all those searing emotions of his washing through her. He didn't seem able to take his eyes away from her face. She stared back at him, waiting.

Then, abruptly, he looked away. Taking his hand from hers, he rubbed it against his face and eyes, squeezing the bridge of his nose with his finger tips. He let it fall down to his lap and looked back at her. His voice was a strained whisper when he spoke. "Rose. You almost died."

Rose swallowed, but nodded. "Guess I did," she said quietly.

He stared at her, his eyes focused but dark. "Because of me."

Rose shook her head swiftly, frowning at him. "No, no it wasn't like that."

"No? Then what was it like then, Rose?" He paused, but she said nothing. "You nearly died because of me. Because you were pushing me out of the way!"

Rose scowled at him. "Yeah, I saved you," she said quietly.

"And look where it got you!" the Doctor exploded. He was on his feet, hand running through his mass of wild hair. His face was mucky, she couldn't help noticing. He didn't look like he'd washed in days – though it was probably more like hours. His teeth were gritted as he stared at her, breathing heavily.

Rose sighed. "I can't be sorry for what I did, Doctor. I just... I just can't."

"You nearly died," the Doctor said, more gently now; his head shaking, his voice breaking. "You did – you... Your heart stopped. You could have died."

Rose looked away. "Doesn't matter," she whispered.

The Doctor had grasped her chin and was forcing her face towards him in a heartbeat. "Don't you ever let me hear you say that again," he hissed urgently at her, his teeth gritting together, vice-like. She looked at him, and saw the tightening of his brow, the dark pools of his eyes – the genuine shock and horror her words had provoked.

"Sorry," she said softly, and meant it. "I didn't mean it like that. But..." She stared into his brown orbs, mesmerized by the depth of them. His fingers didn't move from her chin. "It was rather me than you."

He broke away from her abruptly, sitting back in the chair. "You're impossible," he breached quietly.

She smiled at him. "That makes two of us then."

He didn't smile back. "You can't sacrifice yourself for me, Rose. You just can't. I won't let you."

Rose shook her head. "Why not? You're the Doctor; you're needed; you're..." she trailed off, unable to entirely put into words exactly what he was. What he was to her; to the world; to the whole damned universe!

"I can heal myself, I can regenerate. You can't," he pointed out.

"Yeah, well..." Rose looked away from, finding a spot on the wall opposite to stare at instead. "The wall was collapsing, I didn't exactly have time to think things through..." She didn't add that even if she had thought things through, she probably still would have done exactly the same as she had done. Anything. Anything to keep him safe. She looked back up at him when she felt his eyes begin to burn right into her. He was staring at her, but now he was somewhere between disbelief, pride and fear. She frowned at him. "I didn't think that..." she trailed off, and a hollow silence followed.

"What?" he murmured. And she knew he had just heavily resisted the urge to add, 'You didn't think. Full stop.'

"I didn't think that you cared... like this," she said, voice hushed.

He stared at her, incredulous. "But – but, of course I..." he fumbled, and shook his head. "You have no idea."

Rose looked down at the bed covers, and her next word were said so quietly, he had to lean in to hear. "Yeah, well, since Reniette... I just thought..."

"Don't," he croaked. She looked up at him, and saw the pained furrow of his brow. Don't what? she couldn't help wondering. Don't bring Reniette up because losing her was too painful? Or don't bring up the subject when she left the TARDIS because that was too painful? She couldn't look at his hurt expression; her gaze fell down to her hands on the bed covers. She wasn't sure she wanted to know the answer to her question.

"Sorry," she mumbled again.

"Rose," he beseeched to her, willing her to look at him. She did so. "Do you remember what I said to you? When we were trapped in that little cupboard?" His face looked fragile, but his voice was calm.

Rose frowned and tried to gather her memories together. She knew which memory he meant, she was just having a hard time fitting the bits and pieces of it together. It felt like she was looking at the two of them – as they sat in that dark, little cupboard together – through a long tube, only hearing vague snaps of conversation. "Vaguely," she muttered, a fur in her brow as she stared at him.

He seemed to deflate a little at her lack of memory. "I told you how much I –" he stopped suddenly, and swallowed thickly, his expression pained, struggling. "How much you mean to me, Rose. I told you I... I never meant to hurt you. Never." He gazed at her earnestly. He put his hand on hers and sighed quietly. "I never want to lose you Rose. I don't think I'd be able to... to..." He wasn't looking at her; his eyes were on nowhere in particular, but far away. His brow furred and his eyes were a deeper brown gold than Rose had ever seen them. He seemed so trapped within his thoughts; desperate, terrifying, helpless thoughts. Rose squeezed his hand gently and he met her eyes. "You scare me," he finally whispered.

Rose frowned at him and shook her head. She scared him?

"You make me… want things, Rose. You make me need things. I've never… that is, if I had to choose between you and… and everyone – all the universe… I – I don't think I could. And the step we took before, well you know... you're so... all of it just... it terrified me." His gaze fell down to their joint hand s. "And Reniette got hurt in the process." His lips pressed too tight together, as he looked up and his eyes seared into hers. "I know that doesn't... negate... what I did, but I was just –"

Rose placed her forefinger against his lips. "I understand," she said gently. And she did. She didn't like it very much, but she understood it. He was just pushing her away... and he got caught up in the moment; Reniette payed the price; Rose payed the price; and the Doctor payed, too. He didn't look at her then, a gentle sigh escaping his lips, dealing with the guilt his gaze on her fragile form provoked. "Hey," she caught his attention, cupping his cheek to meet his eye. "I forgive you," she said quietly.

He smiled a small smile. His hand rested on hers, cupping his cheek.

"Can you–" she stopped, and swallowed down some threatening tears. "I mean... can… can you forgive me?"

He frowned at her. "There's nothing for me to forgive, Rose."

Rose shook her head violently. "No, Doctor. I was being selfish. I was… I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. For leaving you... leaving you alone. It was for stupid, stupid reasons and I–"

The Doctor stopped her, placing a finger against her lips as she had to him. "They weren't stupid reasons Rose and you know they weren't. And of course I forgive you. I very well deserved it."

"Is it okay if I..." she swallowed nervously and went on, "If I come back? Back to... to the TARDIS?"

"Of course!" He beamed at her, radiating happiness, and she gave a small smile back. "Now," he said, clearing his throat and standing up, almost businesslike. "I just need to take some blood among other things – see how you're doing. I'm absolutely, positively, ninety-nine-point-nine-nine-nine percent sure you should be out of here in a few hours actually – relying on the fact you're feeling one-hundred-and-fifty percent okay, but I'd like to double check everything's in order." He gave her one of his mega-watt smiles. "Alright with you?"

Rose nodded, the corner of her lips touching upwards at his crinkled, bright eyes and light, joyful tone. "Yeah, course." Then she frowned slightly, and went on quickly as the Doctor opened drawers, picking out various pieces of equipment, "Is Mickey alright? Is he here?" She felt a little guilty in the fact that she'd almost forgotten about Mickey, preoccupied with her feelings for the Doctor.

"Oh, yes!" the Doctor told her, still grinning. "Absolutely fine! He and Sarah-Jane are asleep at the moment, though they kept by you for a rather long time whilst you were sleeping. I had to shoo them off to bed."

"Sarah-Jane?" Rose stared at him. "Wait, Sarah-Jane is here?"

"Oh, I suppose you might have been out for most of that. But yes. She helped. Quite a bit actually."

"Oh, that's good," Rose smiled. "I can talk to her when she wakes up, then."

"Hmm? Oh yes, of course."

He went back to doctoring equipment, taking a small i-pod-like device and holding it against Rose's arm, waiting until the blue light popped through before taking it away to his computer a few meters away. Rose watched him, content with the comfortable silence between them. It felt so... right. Almost like old times. In fact it did feel like old times, just about. Which was good – it had been so long since she'd had a silence that was comfortable with the Doctor – and yet... she couldn't really let their relationship turn into something exactly like old times, could she? Not after they'd took the next step... slept together... not after everything...

She frowned, not entirely comfortable with the road her thoughts were taking her. She took a different route instead; there was still a question she needed answering. "Doctor?"

"Hmm?" Still on his task, his eyes didn't move from the computer screen in front of him.

"What happened to that man? The one who... you know, put those thoughts in my head? Did he die?"

There was a pause, in which the Doctor's eyes still did not leave his computer, but nor did they move along the screen he was viewing either. "Yeah," he said finally, and very quiet. He did look at her then, his eyes sad."Yeah, he died."

"Oh." Rose nodded, her eyes downcast. She didn't feel any real sort of victory with this man's death. But then, she'd learned that she never did really when somebody died. She could feel relief, and yes a sort of victory if the universe was safe again (for now), but the victory never, ever came from the death of anyone – villain or not. So, this man, who'd tortured her and taunted her, was dead. And she felt... nothing really. Just... nothing. It was a sad sort of nothing though. "So the sky's alright now?"

"Yep! All light again; sun's back where it should be. Although, technically it didn't really leave, just the delusions of billions of people all over the world, and the –"

"Rose!" The cry of joy came from the doorway, where Mickey stood. He walked quickly over, hugging her tightly where she lay.

"Oi! Careful," Rose laughed. "I do have ribs you know!"

He pulled back and grinned broadly. "You alright?" he asked.

By the door, the Doctor watched as Rose nodded; laughing and talking – it was so much the same as before, before all the come-to-life nightmares of Rose leaving and almost dying. It was wonderful, and he hardly dared believe it was happening.

Now if only he could move things with Rose even further – and maybe tell her those three words buried deep in his hearts too... – only then would he know things were perfect. And he swore to any god he did or didn't believe in he was going to make things perfect.

A.N: Well... there you have it. You know what to do. ;-)