Unfurling Chapter 12

A/N So I'm going to be trying to stick to a specific update schedule now that things are settling down—Breaking Devon Brannel on Tuesdays, Unfurling on Thursdays, and Alexis on Saturdays. Feel free to bug the hell out of me if I miss a date! And in case anyone is wondering what Alexis is going to be, it is in fact a Doctor Who story; so check it out come Saturday! And now, on with the story.

It hurts, almost as much as what Rose remembers of regenerating, but mental instead of physical, all the anguish and loss and the pure energy pouring out of a dying TARDIS as she mourns the death of her bonded, and Rose can hear her in a way that she's yet to manage, the TARDIS screaming in every language she can possibly comprehend and some she can't and it feels as though her heart is being shredded with dull knives—

Rose has never been so glad to lose consciousness in her life.

When she wakes, she screams until the breath catches in her throat in a frantic sob. A cool cloth is pressed to her forehead and she jerks in surprise. Her voice is rough when she asks in surprise, "Doctor?"

He gives her a soft smile.

"I'm fine, love. And so's the TARDIS. "

"But she…"

Rose can't even say it, the words sticking in her throat as if speaking them aloud would shatter the illusion that everything was alright.

"She didn't. And I promise you, we'll keep her safe so that she never will alright? I'm not going to leave either of my girls."

The cheeky way he refers to them means Rose can't help but give a watery smile, pushing herself to a sitting position. The Doctor put her in her own bed, rather than in the infirmary, which is a nice change from the last time she woke up from something other than sleep.

"What happened?"

The Doctor sits down on the corner of her bed, jostling her a little.

"I'm not actually sure. But hey, lying around in bed isn't going to help us find out!"

He bounces back up again and holds a hand out to her, not-so-subtly acting as support while she slowly stands up, testing her balance. When her head doesn't spin and she feels totally fine, she gives him a small smile. It's a bit odd, considering that usually when she passes out she can't stand on her own for a few hours without waking up—

"It's because all the trauma was in your mind. When I repaired your shields while you were out, your body was no longer interpreting the signals from your mind as damage, so it's as if nothing happened to you physically."

"Please tell me you didn't see anything too bad in there!"

The Doctor smirks and winks, pulling her towards the console room.

She's just settled into her normal spot on the worn, padded chair when the Doctor gestures at her to stand up again.

"C'mere, Rose. How would you like to learn to fly the TARDIS?"

It should be a happy moment, something they share, celebration of the fact that she's now smart enough to help him, and that he wants to teach her. It should be. But the slight undertone of fear or desperation or worry means she stays silent as she walks up behind him to watch him work the controls.