In the entire time that she's been traveling with him, he's gone into her room once, maybe twice. Both times it was to call her to the console room because some sort of something was going on. But since she's discovered the location of his bedroom, she's made it one of her places to find him.
Which is fairly disconcerting, actually. He doesn't like companions knowing where to find him when he really, truly, just wants to hide. And after today? He really does just want to hide.
Everything started out all right. Trip to the 51st century, landed on a spaceship…well, then everything went topsy-turvy. France. Reinette…he had all these great plans for when she was traveling with him. Them. With them. Well, the place was getting a bit blokey anyway, Rose could've used a friend.
And he keeps thinking over that letter in his pocket. A few hours over the course of her lifetime and she died waiting for him. He has had that grief weighing on his hearts since he came back to the TARDIS and he thinks a little alone time won't hurt.
Of course when he gets to his room, there's Rose. Leaning against one of the bedposts and staring over at him. She's in a tank top and shorts which are apparently her improvised set of jim jams. Her hair's brushed out from how she had it done before, but it looks a little ruffled.
"Mickey found his room all right?" he asks, taking off his coat and tossing it over one of the armchairs in the room. He tries to make her think he's not affected by her being in his safe area, but he's certain she knows.
"Yeah, showed him where it was hours ago," she replies.
He loosens his tie. "Hours? Really?"
"Yeah, you've been in the console room a long time."
He drapes his suit jacket over another chair. "Oh." He shouldn't have been surprised. The amount of staring at the letter he did. The number of times he unfolded and refolded it. And he had to have rewired the global repositioner fifteen times. It was something to do. Something to think about.
"So you'll be getting some rest soon, then?" he asks. It comes out a little rude, but she is in his resting area. He doesn't sleep often, but after today he figures he could use at least an hour's sleep.
"Couldn't sleep," she shrugs.
Ah, well, that explains why her hair's mussed; she must've already tried to sleep. He wonders if he should feel concerned for her inability to sleep, but doesn't think about it. She's alive, at least. That's more than he can say about someone else in his life.
He hums a few bars of "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" and fusses a bit with his tie. He wants to undress, but she's not moving.
"Did you love her?" she asks, suddenly.
In a different situation, he might've been thrown off-guard by the question. Instead, he's just tired. He gives up on politeness and undoes his tie but doesn't respond.
"You can't just not answer me, Doctor. I'll just keep on asking 'till you say something about it."
He knows this is true. He really, really wishes it wasn't. There are things about him he doesn't want to talk about. Parts of him he doesn't show anyone. Reinette found them and wasn't afraid. He loved her---loves her---for that. For more than just that. He's not one to often believe in immediate connections, but…there it was.
"I barely knew her," he says over his shoulder as he throws his tie over the chair. It's not fully a lie.
"Your clothes are all rumpled," she observes.
"It has been a rather trying day."
He hears a scuffle of footsteps and somehow, Rose is suddenly behind him. He turns around sharply in surprise. Her eyes are doe-like, but they always have been, and she doesn't move away, not even with his reaction. She stands on her tiptoes and presses herself into him, her lips against his neck.
He's reminded suddenly of only a few hours ago. Reinette against him, her lips. His body reacting in ways he hasn't let it in centuries. Being seduced by a master of seduction. It was, honestly, unlike anything he'd experienced before. And for all of the chasteness between him and his companions, 900 years left him having experienced a lot.
But Rose feels different, now. Her skin is warmer, her body is softer. Unlike Reinette, nothing about Rose is restrained; the soft side of her right hip presses into his midsection and the swell of her breasts press against his chest. And her lips aren't moving, she's just pressing them against his neck. Her breath is warm against the small hairs on the back of his neck and it sends a burning sensation down his spine. She inhales.
"You smell like her perfume."
He puts his hands on her shoulders and pulls back from her. Her expression is somewhat hurt. She's trying very hard to keep that a secret, but the way her eyebrows are all knitted together he knows differently. He has a sudden stabbing of guilt hit him in the chest. He feels almost as if he's cheated on her or something. Which is ridiculous, really. He and Rose aren't...and besides, it's his life. Not the sort to have a wedding band on his hand for a reason. And Rose doesn't look jealous. She just looks…sad.
It's strange, actually. He knew Reinette for the span of a few hours by the time he realized he loved her. He's known Rose for years and he still can't outwardly admit that.
"Would you ever think of me... like that?" she asks. Her eyes dart down to look at his lips but he doesn't even consider kissing her. He's in that sort of position right now he doesn't like, the kind that makes him consider Rose in a sexual light. Especially with where they are and how she looks and the way she's biting her lower lip. He doesn't like to reduce Rose to that sort of a person, even if his mind occasionally wanders there. But he doesn't want to kiss her right now and any sexuality in this situation is dissolved by the fact that he's just tired after today.
"No," he says. It comes out more coldly than intended and the way Rose recoils from him it's almost as if he's slapped her. She crosses her arms over her chest as if she's only just noticed she isn't wearing a brassiere.
"No, you're different." Clarity is probably better in this situation. "I don't…consider any companion, friend, or lover the same. Never try to think about them the same way."
"So she was a lover?" She doesn't want to drop this topic and that just makes him more frustrated.
He doesn't respond because there's really no point in responding. She already knows what his answer is and he already knows that he doesn’t want to talk about it. He turtles away from conversations like this for very good reasons. Not the least of which is the fact that once this conversation is done, she's back to sleeping in a room down the hall from him.
"Why her?" It's a question she's asked before, back in the console room, right after he left Louis and France and Reinette's departing casket. Rose asks it again as she moves back towards the bed. This time there are no talks about all the people in time and space, she just tilts her head away from him.
"I'm twenty years old, Doctor. Not exactly a courtesan, but I'm not, you know…inexperienced or anything…"
"That's not it," he says.
"Would you prefer it if I spoke French, then?" She's trying to crack a joke, he can tell, but it's falling very flat with all of the awkwardness and tension crowding up the room.
He tries to give her a disapproving 'Oh, honestly, Rose,' look, but it's probably a little weak, too.
She sighs audibly. "Then why not me?"
"Sexual relationships are ridiculously complicated," he says, crossing his arms. "Full of tension and aggravation and…" A variety of other things the Doctor doesn’t really understand. "Do you really want us to become that complicated?"
"Didn't seem to mind making her relationship with you more complicated." There's the sassy Rose he remembers. Maybe she's just hiding underneath all the confusion.
"It's not about her, Rose." He takes a few steps across the room until he's near her. Not as close as before, but still very near. He can feel the warmth radiate off her body, but he isn't touching her.
"Do you want us to be like that?" he asks.
A strained smile touches the edges of her lips. "Don't you?"
Sometimes, he does. Sometimes, he thinks it would be a better way to express his emotions for her. But how is he to explain to her that Time Lords don't have instinctual sexual urges? That he finds more joy in taking her to a new place and watching her face light up than he might in a lifetime of orgasmic bliss. Sexuality and romantic love came easily with Reinette. But she's so different from Rose. She…was so different than Rose.
And now? Right now? "I'm tired." Tired and grieving.
She lets out an exasperated half-laugh. "Yeah, and I've got a headache."
The excuses are almost domestic. She steps away from his bed and back towards the door. She stops against the doorframe and turns back to look at him.
"I'm sorry," she says. "For…whatever happened with her."
He nods. "Yeah."
Rose turns and leaves, letting the door to his room shut behind her. He considers sleeping but finds himself fishing through his jacket pocket for the letter again.
It's going to be a long night.
Muse: The Doctor
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 1,664