Beta: The amazing and talented ganeris
Rating: PG-13 in this chapter (mostly for some minor violence) Will be a bit more adult in later chapters.
Summary: Which is better, the dream or the nightmare?
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters and I make no money off of their obvious love and desire for each other.
Author's Notes: Written for the time_and_chips ficathon, anywhere but Cardiff.
Prompt: Deva Loka (paradise planet of the Kinda), August 3, 2266
Temper is a weapon that we hold by the blade. ~Sir James M. Barrie
When Rose wakes up, the Doctor isn’t waiting for her in the kitchen with a cup of tea and a trite comment about how long “apes” have to sleep. He isn’t in his bedroom, the console room, the wardrobe, or the garden, either. So forty-five minutes and two sore feet later Rose, still dressed in her pajamas and now with a touch of worry and a bit of a chip on her shoulder, finally makes it back to the kitchen, determined to have that cup of tea despite his absence. Ironically, now he’s at the table, seated in the high backed wooden chair closest to the wall, his favorite blue mug within arm's reach. Rose breathes a sigh of relief and makes to glide into the room; but before the words “where’ve you been hiding?” can escape her mouth, she stops short, suddenly wary. Leaning her cheek against the cool metal doorframe, Rose takes in the Doctor’s disheveled appearance. He’s barely dressed, at least for him: trusty leather jacket nowhere to be found, and ten slightly hairy toes peaking out from beneath the bottom hem of his jeans. His close-cropped hair is sticking up at all angles, flat on one side and spiky on the other, while his jaw remains covered in a day-old beard. He’s wearing the green jumper today, although it’s horribly wrinkled, as if picked up off the floor and pulled on in a great hurry.
His body language is all wrong. Instead of the Doctor’s usual nonchalant and slightly arrogant pose, he’s all hunched over, elbows on the table and shoulders slumped as if carrying some great weight. Two long fingers from each hand are pressed ruthlessly into the sides of his temples, while his striking features are crunched up in some kind of painful concentration.
The Doctor doesn’t move a muscle; not even a twitch as Rose quietly eases herself inside the room, padding lightly across the tile in her stocking feet. The blue mug is cold when she reaches for it, sugar granules sticking to the sides and full to the brim with tea. He’s not drunk a drop since coming in here.
Biting her bottom lip for courage, Rose reaches out a tentative hand, desperate to smooth away the tension in his clenched jaw, to ease the strain around the Doctor’s eyes. She shrieks loudly, her whole body jerking violently in surprise when one of his hands is suddenly clenched in a steely grip around her wrist, his wide eyes twin balls of furious blue fire.
“Rose!” He releases her immediately, the intensity of the Doctor’s gaze diminishing into a low simmer as recognition sets in. “You shouldn’t sneak up on people like that; could get you hurt.” His chair scrapes along the tile in an obnoxious screech as he gets up from the table and makes his way towards the sink, blue mug in hand.
“I didn’t sneak up on you,” Rose’s voice is incredulous and she raises it to be heard above the running water as he rinses the mug, “I’ve been here for a while. You just didn’t notice. What were you doing?”
“Nothing,” the reply is curt, causing her to frown as he picks up the little bottle of dish soap on the sink ledge.
Rose leans against the counter, not believing that for a second. “Seriously, what’s wrong?”
The Doctor wipes out the last of the sugar granules with a yellow sponge, the task apparently requiring all his concentration, since he refuses to look at her. “I said, nothing. Now leave it.” The mug drops into the wire drain next to the sink with an audible clang.
Rose makes a frustrated sound in the back of her throat as he brushes by, completely dismissing her on his way towards the door. “You only shut me out when you’re upset about something. Why won’t you talk to me?”
He turns, placing one hand on his hip. “That’s right, Rose Tyler, intergalactic social worker. Look, if you’re looking for someone to mother, then you should have stayed home with Rickey boy, 'cause I don’t need it and I don’t want it."
The words feel like a physical blow. “I’m just trying to help.”
“Yeah?” he says, stepping towards her, “You want to help me? You think you can understand my pain?” The last word is spoken mockingly, his tone laced with venom. Rose takes an unconscious step backwards, stopping abruptly when her back hits the edge of the sink. The Doctor pursues her, his long strides quickly closing the distance between them. His face is suddenly inches from hers, blue eyes blazing with intensity as his jaw muscles twitch in rhythmic fury.
Rose doesn’t back down, doesn’t believe for an instant that he’ll actually hurt her. She reaches up, cupping his face in both of her hands, refusing to let him do this to himself, to her. “Please,” she says softly, as if taming a wild beast, “what would help you?”
He leans in, his lips barely an inch away and Rose closes her eyes, feeling his erratic breath puffing against her skin. Her own breath hitches, caught between a scream and sigh as she tries to imagine what he’s going to do next. She can almost feel his lips on hers, the kinetic energy between them almost sealing the miniscule breach.
“Do you want to know what would help me, Rose Tyler?” The sound of her name, spoken so softly, so close to her lips, is the most seductive sound in the universe. Her breath, suddenly returning, fills her lungs in a giant inhalation as Rose’s whole body grows warm.
“Yes.” Her mouth drops open; a silent granting of permission, an obvious plea. Oh God, just do it.
“This helps.” Rose’s eyes jump open at the Doctor’s abrupt change in tone just in time to see his favorite mug smash against the wall. Pieces of blue ceramic plummet to the floor like sharp little raindrops, only to bounce a bit on the tile. Rose gapes at him, shock and horror plastered all over her flushed face. “This helps too.” His mad grin is suddenly borderline psychotic as the Doctor grabs the toaster off the counter, inelegantly ripping the power cord out of the wall and hurling it across the room. Other small appliances follow; the blender, toaster oven, coffee maker, and teapot, all following their compatriots in the same violent demise. Rose flinches every time one of them meets their untimely death against the wall.
Suddenly out of projectiles, the Doctor stills, chest rising and falling in heavy pants, his whole body tense as if preparing for flight. His mouth opens and closes a few times; silent words of what Rose assumes must be some kind of explanation never quite making it past his lips. He turns then, escaping the kitchen, and Rose. His bare feet slap on the tile floor as he makes his cowardly retreat, leaving Rose in a room full of broken things.
It takes her a minute to move, partially afraid of cutting her feet on the sharp items now scattered everywhere and partially just horribly confused. What just happened? Rose lets her lips stretch into a sad smile as she considers her next move. It doesn’t help that she suddenly feels just as broken as the rest of the room.