Laughter echoed through the halls of the TARDIS. The ship’s engines hummed happily as her occupants played.
The Doctor couldn’t remember the last time he’d had this much fun… and to think, it had all started because Rose couldn’t sleep.
Not sleeping was a usual thing for him — not so much for her. Her human physiology required quite a bit more sleep than his Time Lord body did. And she was so adorable when she pouted… Who was he kidding? Rose could be adorable by BREATHING.
“I can’t sleep.”
He had been under the console, doing his best to fasten on a part they’d just picked up, which he was sure would aid in the TARDIS’ in-flight stabilization (and possibly keep them from being knocked on their butts quite so much — after all, the ship was designed for six pilots, and without the six pilots, had a tendency to jig around quite a bit in the vortex). But he had to get it attached first. He popped out from under the console to blink at his companion, and he couldn’t help smiling. She was wearing pink jams that looked very snuggly comfy (in fact, she’d once described them to him as feeling like she was sleeping in a hug, which sounded fantastic to him). “Oh? Bad dream?”
Her lower lip poked out. “No dream. No sleep.” She came in and plopped down on the jump seat, still pouting down at him. “Just tossed, turned… Wished for my mum’s biscuits.”
His tongue peeked out and licked his lips for a second before he hauled himself up out of the maintenance hole. “Biscuits I can do!” He grinned at her and offered her a hand.
Rose started to take it, then made a face at him and laughed. “You’re all greasy. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you’d been working under a car instead of the TARDIS!”
The Doctor looked down at himself in surprise — his beloved pin-striped suit jacket was covered in grease spots. “Well! That won’t do…” He unbuttoned and removed the offending garment and tossed it over one of the coral supports, knowing that when he returned to the room, the TARDIS would have delt with getting it to the laundry. The shirt he wore underneath was thin material, and his tie was loose and dangling. After a moment, he pulled off the tie as well, noticing that it had been greased almost as badly as his suit jacket.
Rose grinned and took his hand when he next offered it, having wiped it off on the tie he was discarding. “Much better.” She giggled. “The only way you’d look comfier is if you were wearin’ a robe and slippers, like Christmas.”
He gave a laugh, squeezed her hand, and lead her down to the kitchen. She sat at the dining table while he puttered around, making tea and pulling out several different kinds of biscuits, chattering all the while about some planet he was planning on taking her to next. Something about flying manta rays and rock formations that defy gravity. It sounded wonderful and she couldn’t wait, but she was so happy just watching him as he worked the kitchen in his untucked shirt-tails, hair all a mess, top button having made it’s way undone while he was getting rid of his tie. She was so busy watching him that she almost didn’t notice when tea (just the way she liked it), was plopped down in front of her with a tray of assorted biscuits. Not just assorted flavors, mind you, assorted ORIGINS. Some of these biscuits were from places she couldn’t even pronounce. She made a little squee sound of delight. “Oh, Doctor! I’m going to overdose on sugar!”
He grinned. “Then maybe you’ll wear yourself out and be able to sleep.” He munched a plain old chocolate chip biscuit and grinned at her again. Him having sugar probably wasn’t the best idea, either.. she would have to double her chocolate intake to keep up with him. But, in the mood she was in right then, that was just what she wanted to do.
“Maybe I will!” She set to work on a biscuit that was like some combination of hazelnut and vanilla, absolutely delicious, with a chocolate mousse filling.
A short while later, the pile of biscuits was much less overwhelming — and the two TARDIS travelers were much more hyper.
Rose was leaning on the Doctor, laughing at something he’d said, her arm around his stomach as he gestured with a biscuit.
“No, Rose, I’m serious! It was HUGE! At least three times as tall as a Gondalarian Swamplax, and it smelled like rotten cheese!”
Rose made a face. “Ewww.” She laughed. “Remind me not to ask you to go to Gonda… Gondalar?”
He grinned hugely. “That’s right! On your first try, too!” He hugged her, grinning, then blinked when she squeaked. He pulled his arm from around her and looked at the fact that his biscuit was now half a biscuit — it broke. “Oops. Ah…”
Rose pouted. “You made crumbs fall in my jams.”
He protested, but neither of them moved. “I didn’t mean to…”
His companion got an evil glint in her eye. “I think you did. And I think you’re gonna pay for it.”
Before he could move, her arms around him tightened, and she sat up enough that she was pushing him back in his seat, practically sitting in his lap. And now with a slightly evil grin to add to the look in her eye.
The combination made the Time Lord very nervous — not because he thought she would ever do anything to hurt him, but because (in similar situations) he had wound up with chips dumped in his lap, and an ice cube down his shirt at another instance. “Ah, Rose… The crumbs were an accident.”
She grinned wickedly, her arms slipping from around him now that her body effectively held him pinned. “Oh, I know… But there’s something I’ve been dying to try.” She let her hands rest gently on his sides, and it was everything he could do not to nuzzle into the touch. In fact, her sitting in his lap was quite nice…
He raised an eyebrow at her. “Oh? What?” A very real part of him hoped she would kiss him. It was an inkling of a hope, and he certainly didn’t expect it to be acted on. So when she leaned closer, he felt his hearts begin to race.
“Tell me, Doctor…” Her lips were the barest breath from his, her gorgeous eyes meeting his with a playful intensity that made his spine feel like jelly. Then again, that could happen just with a smile from Rose Tyler. “Are Time Lords….” Her lips moved to right beside his ear, barely whispering the last word. The sugar and the lack of sleep making her bold, and playful. “…ticklish?”
The Doctor was so distracted by the sensations of her in his lap, of her breath on his earlobe stealing the majority of his attention. He didn’t even register the word at first. “What?” His eyes focused suddenly and he blinked. “What?!”
Rose giggled, hands still resting lightly at his sides, but her fingers were working their way slowly under his untucked shirt. “I was deducting… You like when I deduct. And I was thinkin’ about how you’ve tickled me before, yeah?”
His mind was still trying to catch up, watching her. “Yes…” He had, several times, in fact. He’d chased her around the console with wiggling fingers as a threat more than once. Honestly, he just loved hearing her squeal and giggle, but it hadn’t occurred to him that he was giving himself away at the same time.
Rose grinned, her tongue between her teeth. Her fingers rested against his cool skin, making him jump a little beneath her. She giggled, knowing what he was expecting, and drawing it out as long as possible. “Well, it occurred to me… A person doesn’t tickle someone unless they’ve either seen them be tickled and know they’re ticklish… OR, they’re ticklish themselves.” She grinned at her own logic. “You’ve never seen anyone tickle me. So…
The Doctor blinked at her. “Rose, you would-” He was cut off by a wave of his own giggles, when Rose dragged her nails up and down his sides playfully.
“Ah-ha! I’ve got you now!” She laughed triumphantly, and attacked his ribs with her fingers. Her nails scritched and slid, tickling up and down, over his stomach and back down to his waist until he was absolutely trembling with laughter, hands completely ineffective against her onslaught. He breathlessly begged her to stop, which she finally did. Though if it was from his begging or the fact that SHE was now laughing too hard to continue, it wasn’t clear.
His hearts were racing, and he couldn’t help continuing to giggle as his hands finally found her wrists and stopped her from being ABLE to tickle him anymore. He was grinning, though. “Oh, oh stop… Rose… Please…”
She giggled and grinned cheekily at him. “Gotcha.”
He couldn’t help smiling. “That you did. But you’ve forgotten something vital.”
She blinked at him, and a look of confusion crossed her face. “Huh?”
The Doctor gave an evil smirk. He was able to release her wrists to grab at her ribs through her jams for a moment — enough to make her squeal — before she scrambled off his lap and ran from the room, giggling. Instantly, he was hot on her heels, laughing as well.
The TARDIS watched them as they ran through her halls, laughing, alternately tickling each other silly. Long nights in the vortex could be quite boring, really, especially when all that was going on was Rose’s sleeping and the Doctor’s tinkering. But this? She could watch them play all night. And she had a feeling that Rose wouldn’t be having trouble sleeping after this, anyway. Especially when they wound up collapsed on her bed together, a tangle of laughter, tickles, and limbs.
Sometimes a sugar rush was exactly what the Doctor ordered.