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This is something I've wanted to write for ages, and I decided to jump in and do it using another prompt from the Three Little Words ficathon. Same theory as the last two--the Doctor has to say "I love you" to Rose, and the prompt, courtesy of ladyprydian, was Nine/Rose: shake / shudder / shatter.

It's post-"Father's Day", which is obvious in the fic proper. I always thought that Rose was probably more affected by it than she let on at the end, and that the night after would have been rough, hence this fic. Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts!


Shattered

It was something she’d done as a kid—something everyone does, really. When she couldn’t sleep, she’d get a glass of water, sit in the kitchen, thinking or reading or just sitting there, tracing her fingers on the glass, listening to her own breathing.

After everything she’d been through today, she needs that childish comfort, that reminder of her childhood on the Powell Estate, just her and her mum. She lays there for a moment, tangled in the bedsheets from all the tossing and turning she’s done during the past few hours, and gets up, heading to the TARDIS’s kitchen. Well, what could pass as one, anyway. It’s not as though they do much cooking; the Doctor’s been to so many planets that he’s a walking Zagat survey for interplanetary cuisine. 

She walks to the sink, getting a glass and turning on the faucet, filling it with water. As she goes to raise the glass to her lips, she realizes that her hands are shaking too hard, that water is sloshing over the top and dripping onto her arm. Her legs feel weak, and she leans into the counter, closing her eyes as her mind returns again, unbidden, to the conversation from earlier. 

“Still, he’s not in charge anymore. I am.” 

“But you can’t…” 

“Who am I, love?” 

“My daddy!” 

A sob escapes her before she can stop herself, and she drops the glass, which shatters against the floor of the TARDIS. She tries to ignore the tears running down her cheeks as she kneels, trying to pick up the glass pieces so that they don’t injure anyone. Her hands are still shaking and she knows that handling glass isn’t exactly what she should be doing, but pain distracts her from the tears, from the thought of that conversation, from the memory of seeing her father die, twice, right in front of her. 

“Rose?” 

The Doctor’s voice, behind her, close enough that she should have heard him approach. It startles her, and she clenches her fist involuntarily, not realizing she’s still holding the glass, and she gives a whimper of pain that comes from more than the injury. She knows it’s pathetic, knows she’s worse than a child right now, but she can’t seem to stop the tears and the memories running through her mind are breaking her down. She wants to say something, but she knows that whatever words she could work up would be incoherent, so she doesn’t, instead sobbing into her hands, one of them bloody. 

The arms around her startle her, and she feels her tears soaking the slightly scratchy wool of his jumper as he gently picks her up, one of his arms encircling her shoulders, the other resting under her knees. She wraps her arms around his neck, shuddering with sobs, and she hears him whispering reassurances in a certain soothing way, calmer than she’s ever heard him. 

He brings her to her bedroom, gently setting her down on her bed and touching her shoulder, telling her he’d be right back. He returns a few minutes later with a cloth, using it as a bandage for her bleeding palm. 

Her sobs have quieted into silent, sniffling tears, and he wraps his arm around her, holding her close to his chest. “Oh, Rose,” he says, quietly enough that she almost doesn’t hear it. 

“I was right to be worried. You’re still thinking about him.” 

“I can’t help it.” Rose wipes at her face, looking up at him with wet eyes. “He died in front of me twice. He died twice because I was stupid enough to think I could save him.” 

“You’re not stupid, Rose. You’re human.” 

“Sometimes you seem to think that’s the same thing.” 

“Sometimes, but not with you. Rose, faced with the chance you had, most would have done the same. Stopped him from dying.” He hesitates for a moment or two before he adds, “There’s been times when I’d’ve done it myself.” 

“All right. Maybe I did the thing most people would do, but…” She takes a breath, steadying herself, shifting closer, almost imperceptibly, in his hold. “But it doesn’t change that he died. That I saw him take his last breath, that… that my mum had to see that.” 

“Rose.” He puts his fingers under her chin, lifting her face to his. “You…” He starts to say something before he pauses, backpedaling. “D’you want to know why I travel with you? D’you know what I love about you?” 

She shakes her head, and he forges on. “I love you because you’re brave, Rose. Other people would’ve asked to see a loved one before they died, like we did at the wedding. Other people would have been content with that glimpse of… happiness. Of vitality, life. But you, Rose… you asked to be there for him as he died. You wanted to make sure he wouldn’t die alone, even knowing how much it would hurt to see. You’re brave, Rose Tyler. Don’t forget it.” 

She nods, and he wipes away the single tear that slips down with his thumb, keeping his arm around her and gently stroking his fingers along her upper arm. Finally, she pulls away, glancing down at the bandage on her hand and then back up at him. “I’m sorry. About the glass, and startling you into finding me there…” 

“I’m glad it did. You shouldn’t be alone and upset.” 

She smiles faintly, and he gets up so that she can lie down again. He hesitates in the doorway, holding her gaze momentarily before she says haltingly, “Doctor?” 

“Yes, Rose?” 

Quieter than before, she pleads softly, “Can you stay?” 

And he stands there for a moment before he quietly acquiesces, going back to sit at the end of her bed. She reaches for his hand, and he puts it in hers, grasping it just as he had earlier that day. 

Even when she falls asleep, he doesn’t let go.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
kilodalton
Feb. 6th, 2011 03:27 am (UTC)
This is so sad, poignant and sweet. And I love this part, it is so true to the compassion of Rose's character:

“I love you because you’re brave, Rose. Other people would’ve asked to see a loved one before they died, like we did at the wedding. Other people would have been content with that glimpse of… happiness. Of vitality, life. But you, Rose… you asked to be there for him as he died. You wanted to make sure he wouldn’t die alone, even knowing how much it would hurt to see. You’re brave, Rose Tyler. Don’t forget it.”
haveloved
Feb. 6th, 2011 03:33 am (UTC)
Thank you! That part came to me entirely by accident! I was initially going to have him call her brave for some other reason, but then it occurred to me how it really was brave of Rose to want to go back and see him die, just so she could be there. It really made me love her, and the episode, so much more, when I thought of it that way. She really is so compassionate and loving.
(Deleted comment)
haveloved
Feb. 6th, 2011 03:54 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! :) I have other Doctor/Rose fics you might enjoy; they're all posted here on this journal. I tend to do oneshots (or at least have when it comes to these prompts) but I might do an offshoot of this one day. I miss Nine terribly, and I do want to give him and Rose a few more adventures than we got to see!
lillibetm3
Feb. 6th, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC)
I really like post 'Father's Day' fics.
And I'm glad that you're so busy filling so many of the prompts from the ficathon. :)

This is lovely - especially the very sweet last line.
haveloved
Feb. 6th, 2011 05:30 pm (UTC)
I'd actually never really worked with prompts before, but I was so intrigued by the idea of the ficathon and by the words chosen for some prompts that I couldn't resist! Thanks for hosting it; I've been having so much fun. :)
amberfocus
Feb. 6th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
Very sweet. I have a thing for the aftermath of Father's Day fics. Nicely done.
quean_of_swords
Feb. 6th, 2011 08:08 pm (UTC)
Poor Rose. Very nice moment for her and Nine. ♥
ladyprydian
Feb. 9th, 2011 12:38 pm (UTC)
Oh how lovely, it surpassed my expectations from the prompt. And post Father's Day too! That's always a bonus because so many people believe that's when their relationship or feelings for each other 'changed'.

I also like the idea that the state of the glass reflects how Rose is feeling - shattered into a million pieces.

And thanks for the heads up! I've been meaning to check the fic thread for a while now.
haveloved
Feb. 9th, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome! I'm really glad you like it; I had such fun writing it. (How horrible does that sound? lol)
ladyprydian
Feb. 9th, 2011 03:45 pm (UTC)
Not horrible at all, it just means you really love writing.
emraldeyedauter
Feb. 14th, 2011 09:38 am (UTC)
Aw lovely angst. I enjoyed this very much.
develish1
Mar. 10th, 2011 05:29 am (UTC)
how did I miss this? oh well, glad I found it eventually, it's a lovely fic hon :)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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