The Doctor sat in the TARDIS’ expansive library, regarding the majestic fireplace with tired eyes. Nearly losing Rose to the Wire shook him more than he’d have liked to admit, but he knew that she knew. But he still went out of his way to keep his discomfort quiet. It was the middle of the ship’s night, and that was the only reason he was allowing himself this bit of self indulgence.
At least, he thought she was asleep.
“Doctor?” The worry in her voice made his hearts both swell with pleasure and ache – she’s worried about him… and he’s made her worry about him.
Well, he can try to do something about that. He jumps to his feet and gives her a grin. “Rose! What’re you doing up? I thought you were sleeping.”
Rose came further into the library, and instead of responding verbally, she simply slipped her arms around his pinstriped waist and hugged him tightly. “At the risk of sounding like a little kid… I had a bad dream.”
The Doctor’s arms had gone around her instinctively before he could even formulate a thought. “Want to talk about it?” He felt, rather than saw her nod, and if he hadn’t asked a question he would’ve thought she was nuzzling his chest. He lead her back over to the couch in front of the fireplace, and he saw the fire flare up out of the corner of his eye as the TARDIS did her part to make the room cozy and comfortable.
They settled on the couch together and Rose pulled herself back enough to look the Doctor in the eye. “You were gone. You were gone and I couldn’t get to you, and I knew you were there, but…” She trailed off and covered her mouth with a hand, choking on her own words.
The Doctor made a noise of sympathy and pulled her into his arms again. “Hey. I’m right here. Not goin’ anywhere.”
He could hear the smile slipping into her voice, “I know that, silly.” She pulled back and looked at him again. “I just needed to see you.”
His hearts swelled again and he leaned forward to touch his forehead to hers. “Here I am.” He tried not to think about how he’d just been sitting alone scarce few minutes ago, brooding over how close he had come to losing her – and there she was having a nightmare that she’d lost HIM. With the TARDIS tied into both of their minds, it was too easy to imagine that there had been some overlap of upset there. Borrowed emotions, feeding and amplifying each other. And Rose was talking to him. “Hmm?”
Rose had pulled back to look at him. “Mind if I stay with you? In here?” She was chewing on her lip – worried at his distraction. Stupid Doctor.
“Oh, of course! You’re always welcome wherever I am.” It occurred to him at some spot in his mind that he’d just essentially invited her into even his private bedroom with that statement. But it also occurred to him that the idea didn’t bother him.
Rose’s smile lit up the room more than the fire, and the Doctor smiled in response. Then she yawned, and he gave a soft laugh – she was so cute. “Oh, good.” She smiled at him sheepishly, “I think I’m too tired to get back to my room.” She smiled happily when the Doctor shifted and allowed her to snuggle up against him, resting her head on his chest. It wasn’t long before his dual heartbeat had lulled her into a deep, dreamless sleep.
He relaxed as well, staring into the flames, one hand slowly stroking up and down her side. Borrowed emotions or not, there was no doubt in his mind that he had absolutely no idea what he would do without Rose Tyler at his side. Without her hand to hold, her smile, her laugh, her hug… He had to face the fact – he was in love.
And while he hoped that emotion was shared, and imagined that it was… It certainly wasn’t borrowed.