Beta: This one is unbetad, so sorry in advance for any mistakes.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, If I did you'd be watching this story on TV
Synopsis: The Doctor gets hurt protecting Rose. Can she save him in time?
This was originally my entry for challenge 1.05 on doctor_rose_las. I won this one, yay! In the contest the fic can only be up to 1000 words. I expanded it a little bit before posting it here.
Rose flinches back, shrieking in outrage as a jagged piece of metal suddenly slices into the fleshy part of her palm. A second later she’s viciously ripping the drawer out of the wall, grunting in frustration as a plethora of small medical instruments hit the floor and clatter against its metal surface. She’s on her knees in a heartbeat, sorting through the strange and mostly unidentifiable objects. Blood smears against the shiny tubes and syringes as she pushes them away, transferring to their once sterile surfaces from her dripping fingers. Rose stifles a sob; she has no way of knowing how of much of the blood is hers, and how much of it is the Doctor’s.
One minute they were practically skipping through the exotic alien forest, exuberant in the fact that once again they managed to do the impossible: stay alive, make a difference. Then suddenly, Rose was on her back, her head bouncing lightly on the damp soil. The Doctor followed instantly, coming down on top of her in a breath stealing tangle of lean muscle and heavy brown cotton. She whimpered a weak, “ouch,” against a pinstriped shoulder.
The Doctor pulled back, lifting his weight from her burning lungs. “Are you all right?” he asked. “Were you injured?” The words were clinical, the tone anything but. Moving frantically he began to run his hands up and down her limbs. His long fingers skimmed the cotton of her baby blue t-shirt, over her stomach and shoulders, before caressing her neck and feeling the base of her skull.
Rose smiled up at him, completely baffled by his obvious concern. “I’m fine,” she said, offering up a bright smile, “or at least I was until you knocked me down. What’s this all about?”
His large, luminous brown eyes met her’s and Rose suddenly realized how very pale he’d become in the last few minutes. “Phytolacca Rhaponticum,” he said, gesturing slightly to a large orange flower behind them, “more commonly known as the final sunset. Get too close and it shoots you with a highly effective, fast-acting neurotoxin.” He was panting, and Rose felt the first sick churnings of dread start to gather low in her belly.”
“One prick and you would have been stone cold dead in less than an hour. Lucky for us, I’m a Time Lord, so we should have closer to two.” He leaned forward, wrapping his long fingers around a tree root and squeezing so hard his knuckles turned white. Rose stared in horror as a trickle of blood escaped the cuff of his shirtsleeve, staining the white fabric before dripping to the earthy soil. “It has to come out though,” he panted. “And I’m sorry, I’m really very sorry, but it’s barbed, so you’re going to have to pull hard.”
Rose will never forget her first sight of the giant thorn embedded in the back of the Doctor’s shoulder, nor his agonized cry when she ripped it from him, tearing skin and muscle alike. She pulled his tie off from around his neck, a red and blue paisley one, and tried to staunch the flow of blood that flowed freely down his back.
“I liked that tie,” he complained weakly.
“Yeah?” She asked, desperate to keep him talking, keep him with her. “Where’d you get it?”
“1982,” he managed through chattering teeth. “New York. Right after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.” Rose reached into his coat pocket for the Sonic Screwdriver. His words were becoming more labored, less easy to understand. “I got it from a man who’d held one of the ropes…for the Giant Turkey Balloon. Imagine…creating giant cartoon versions of an animal….you’re going to be happily dining on in a few hours. Only humans…gotta love ‘em.” He groaned in renewed agony, gritting his teeth as Rose cauterized the gaping wound in his back with setting 648.
“Okay mister,” she told him firmly as she pulled his uninjured arm over her shoulders. “We’re getting you back to the TARDIS, and you’re going to stay awake, even if you have to tell me where every single one of your neckties came from, you hear?”
He flashed her a lopsided grin. “Yes sir.”
Ninety minutes, and half a dozen tie stories later, Rose half dragged the Doctor into the TARDIS, leaving him in a tangled heap in the control room before sprinting off to the infirmary.
Growling in frustration she now rakes her fingers through the tangled strands of her blonde hair, leaving a streak of fresh blood across her cheek. She’s wasted twenty minutes searching through drawer after unlabeled drawer while every second that passes leaches more and more life out of her Doctor. How was it possible that he could tell her where every single one of his five thousand neckties came from, but couldn’t remember something as vital as where he kept his collection of life saving antidotes? Somewhere between breathlessly explaining that his green tie with the blue squares came from Beijing in 3705 and the solid red silk one was acquired on an asteroid in the Mondia system, all he managed to tell her about the antidote was that it was in a green tube!
She roots through the messy pile on the floor one more time, flinging syringes and clamps and weird bits of tiny machinery away in order to dig to the bottom. She picks up a discarded rag, preparing to toss it away with everything else, but an object underneath it catches her eye. Something green and shiny is wedged between two struts in the grated floor.
Rose completely stops moving for a heartbeat, holding her breath and refusing to blink lest it disappear. She carefully pulls the tube from its place on the floor and cradles it in her palm. She scans the words written on the side of the vial and the TARDIS’s fantastic translating abilities tell her everything she needs to know. She’s found it!
Rose races back to the Doctor, the precious antidote clasped firmly in her sweaty palm. He’s right where she left him, curled into a ball on his side, barely breathing. She falls to her knees, ignoring the stinging pain from the grated floor and roughly jams the tube into the side of his neck, hearing it hiss. Scooting into a sitting position next to him, she pulls him to her, placing his head on her lap so she can smooth her fingers over the angry red welt on the injection site. She prays that they’re not too late, begs whoever will listen that she found it in time.
“I’ll be all right.” Rose jumps at little at the unexpected sound. It’s the voice of a dying man, or one who’s never had a drop of water to drink in his life. “I’m gonna sleep for a while. You won’t be able to wake me up. Don’t be scared.”
“I won’t,” she lies, trying not to let him hear the tears in her voice. She smoothes back his hair, desperate to ease his pain in any way that she can. Mid stroke, Rose suddenly remembers what her mother used to do for her when she was little, to help her have pleasant dreams. “Just imagine you’re in the perfect place,” she tells him, thinking he has so many to choose from. “It’s warm, and safe, and beautiful, and nothing can ever harm you there.”
“Don’t have to pretend,” he says and Rose can barely hear him now. His arms tighten around her legs, an almost imperceptible shifting of the muscles. “I’m already there.”
Rose finally lets the tears fall as he drops into sleep. “Me too.”