OTP Idea #526
Imagine your OTP meeting because Person A has a panic attack on the train that Person B is on.
I changed it a bit, making it happen on the Zeppelin ride home from Norway.
Also, it isn’t anywhere near drabble length. (I’m sorry, so so sorry.)
Objectively, the Doctor knows exactly what is happening to him. His one heart beats rapidly, his breaths are shallow. Apparently even a complicated event in time and space isn’t immune to a panic attack.
The knowledge doesn’t make it any easier.
He’s on the Zeppelin, heading to an uncertain future. Jackie won’t stop talking and Rose isn’t talking much at all.
The Doctor’s one heart seems to be seizing in his chest, his breaths coming faster and faster, and he feels a bit dizzy. No respiratory bypass to help that out. It’s as if he’s still on the beach, only too close to the shoreline because waves are lapping at his feet.
First they’re small waves (Rose isn’t holding my hand), then they grow. (Rose isn’t talking to me.) Then they threaten to overwhelm him. (Rose doesn’t want me.)
And now it’s just like a tsunami (No TARDIS, only silence in my mind), and he feels as if he will surely pass out. A tiny part of his mind wonders if he should bother waking back up. He squeezes his eyes shut.
Then, there are hands holding his hands. They’re small, soft, and they fit perfectly in his. The vice grip on his heart eases slightly.
“Doctor. Doctor, are you okay? You’re having a panic attack. Listen to me, love, just focus on my voice.”
He focuses on the endearment. Already it feels better. He nods his head, still unable to speak.
“Take a deep breath, hold it, then slowly breathe it out. It’s okay. Talk to me when you can.”
As long as he focuses on Rose’s voice, he can do this. He takes the deep breaths because he knows she’s right. If he could think straight, he could have thought up the solution all on his own. It takes a bit, but the breathing helps.
“Is he okay? Is he sick?”
He really didn’t want to hear Jackie’s voice. It makes him remember that long ago Christmas when she was shouting her version of help at him.
“S'okay, Mum. He’s not sick. Did the breathin’, help, Doctor?”
He finds that his voice has returned, but he still doesn’t want to open his eyes. “Yes, thank you,” he whispers. Rose’s hands squeeze his and it’s the best thing he’s felt so far (other than that brilliant kiss).
“Oh,” Jackie breathes, like she’s in on some secret.
The Doctor’s face reddens. He can feel the heat on his ears. The last thing he wants is pity from both of them. Especially not from Jackie. He expelled a noisy breath and finally opens his eyes.
What he sees from both Tyler women floors him. No pity, just
understanding. And as he dares to hope, love. He can feel tears stinging his eyes. “I’m sorry, so sorry,” he murmurs in a rush.
“Oh, s'fine, Doctor. I’ve had a fair few panic attacks. They’re terrifyin’. If it hadn’t been for Mum when I first got here…..” Rose trails off, giving Jackie a grateful smile.
“Had ‘em when my first Pete died,” Jackie added. “Thought I was havin’ a heart attack that first time.”
“Mum taught me the breathin’ exercises,” Rose explained.
“Oh,” is all the Doctor can manage. It’s painful to think of what both women had to go through to cause those attacks. Surely they didn’t
need to be burdened with him. “You didn’t sign up for this, Rose. You didn’t expect to get stuck with me, in this universe, burdened with taking care of me because I can’t deal with it all.”
Before Rose can even speak, Jackie interjects, “Oh, don’t be stupid. Of course we’ll take care of you. S'called bein’ a family. You two need to do a lot of talkin’, but not tonight. You two need rest. Just relax, Doctor, we’ll figure it out.”
Then she’s heading back to her seat, and the Doctor is left with an unexpected feeling of lightness. If Jackie’s calling him stupid and speaking to him like that, she isn’t pitying him. She’s treating him like always. In a weird way, it’s comforting.
Rose sits beside him, letting his hands go, but putting her arms around him. “I’m sorry,” she whispers.
“Why? What do you have….” He’s truly baffled.
“….to be sorry for?” she finished, “other than ignoring your distress? I’m apologizing for being a right cow.”
“Don’t call yourself that. You’ve been asked…forced to accept something that you had not planned.” He hung his head.
She nodded. “Things turned out differently than I had expected. When has our life together ever been predictable? We’ll figure this out. Together. We’re stuck with each other, and…”
“Not so bad?” he sighed with a small smile.
“No, not at all. You promised me your forever, Doctor. And I want that.”
The Doctor feels another immense wave of emotion, but this time it’s relief. His knotted muscles finally begin to relax.
“Mum’s right, we have a lot to talk about but I think, right now…. I just want…need to hold you. Is that okay?”
“I think that’s brilliant,” he breathes, smiling as the tears shine in his eyes.
The Doctor opened his arms to Rose, and she seats herself on his lap. She snuggles against him, nuzzling against his neck. He chuckles when her hair tickles his cheek. As soon as she relaxes against him he can feel the tension leaving his body, and he thinks it’s left hers as well. He kisses her hair and she murmurs, “Feeling better?”
“Yeah. It’s better.” He is surprised that he really feels better, and he’s not telling her he’s always alright.
“Better with two, remember?” She kisses his lips softly.
He beams at her. “Always better with two, Rose Tyler.”