Requested by @fabulouspotatosister
“We did it!”
Sometimes the Doctor was just a little bit too cheery. Although, in this case, he was perfectly justified. You did just escape death-by-exploding-TARDIS, after all, and that was worth being cheerful for.
“Yeah,” you breathed, slumped against the control console. Man, that was a close one. That could have been bad. Very bad. Death-bad. “We did.”
What you had done, you weren’t sure, but the Doctor had told you to do it and the mauve alarm had stopped flashing and that shrill whistle was finally silent and the TARDIS wasn’t rocking back and forth anymore, so you could only assume that it had worked. And that you weren’t going to die, which was good.
The Doctor was at your side out of nowhere. “You okay?”
“Fine,” you assured him, but he didn’t seem convinced.
“C'mere,” he murmured, pulling you into a hug. “Shh, easy. It’s okay.”
“I just said I’m fine,” you muttered, but who were you to resist a hug from the Doctor? You gripped the fabric of his suit, not wanting to pull away. Every hug from the Doctor was something you treasured. If you were smart, you wouldn’t torture yourself with all this closeness, all this touching that would have been, from any human, rather suggestive of… something. Anything. Any possibility of a thing that was vaguely more-than-friendly-like. But no, of course this was not so with the Doctor. He couldn’t just-
Oh, who were you kidding? The Doctor was a romantic; he just wasn’t a romantic with you.
And just so, you thought. He was, as some might put it, “way out of your league.” And you knew it. So you wouldn’t sulk like a little girl. No. You would sulk like a grown woman, staying up ‘til the crack of dawn with your favorite food and a good movie and some stolen hugs from the Doctor.
“If you say so,” the Doctor finally conceded. “How about we stay in tonight, huh? I think that was more than enough near-death experience for one evening.”
“Definitely,” you agreed. Well, it was time for a shower. Or a bath. And a nap. That had been an exhausting experience. Or, well, if you were going to make this an indulge-myself-because-I-nearly-died therapy session, why not take a nap in a bath? The TARDIS would keep the water fresh and warm and it wasn’t like anyone was going to care if you got pruny. Oh, yes. This was a good idea. There was only one obstacle between you and a therapy bath that potentially could include bubbles.
The Doctor wasn’t letting go.
“Oh!” The Doctor took a few steps back from you, smiling sheepishly. “Sorry.”
“No problem,” you said, and in a desperate attempt to make sure he hadn’t gotten the wrong idea, you said, “I like hugs.”
Well, dumber things had been said by you before, but the Doctor was either oblivious or was kindly ignoring the blurb of awkward that had just slipped out of your mouth.
“Um… well, y'see, the thing is…” The Doctor was doing that eye thing, where he would look at you a bit sideways and squint. It always made him look a bit guilty, although the expression was actually a sign of anxiousness, you were discovering. He scratched the back of his neck, another anxious habit, and you were immediately on alert. "You’re brilliant, you know that?“
"You might have mentioned it once or twice.” He had. It was like his catchphrase. Save the Earth? You’re brilliant! Talk to aliens without being weirded out? You’re brilliant! Give him a banana? You’re brilliant! But then again, you tried not to take anything the Doctor said too seriously. He had once been in the habit of calling you foolish girl and stupid ape, so you knew his words, even the complimentary ones, were to be taken with a grain of salt.
“No, I mean, really brilliant,” the Doctor insisted. “I mean, we do this stuff, all the time, nearly dying, and sometimes you lose your cool but you never give up. And regeneration! You stuck through regeneration and just accepted that I’m still me even though I’m nothing like old me was, and nobody does that!”
Ah. The Regeneration Incident. That had been a lot of fun. You wondered if this was finally the day when you would look back on that event and laugh off how traumatizing it had been for everyone involved, but the Doctor didn’t look to be in the laughing mood. And, he wasn’t done.
The Doctor was swaying back and forth on his feet, scuffing his trainers and running his hands through his hair. You leaned back a little bit, confused. He should be relaxed, not stressed out. You had just successfully survived. What was his problem?
“Do you know that I watch you?”
… Well. That was a new one. “Um…”
“I do,” he said, working his jaw. “I watch you. I know humans get a bit freaked out by that, but it’s a Gallifreyan thing. We watch time, we watch the universe, we watch… important things. I watch you 'cause I can’t not watch you. Because you’re in my brain, all the time. I’m afraid of lettin’ my gob run without checking it, because I know that if I’m not careful, I’m gonna mention you every other sentence. That’s mad!” He wildly threw his arms up in the air to emphasize his point, but you thought the way his hair was defying gravity was probably a better illustration. Wait, no, it was time to be serious. The Doctor was being serious. Leave the hair alone. Do not fantasize about ruffling. “That’s absolutely insane! Loco, bonkers, off my rocker! My big, superior, Time Lord brain, and all I can think about is…”
There were a lot of directions this could be going in, but you had half an idea that it was going somewhere emotionally dangerous. “Is..?”
The Doctor stepped close to you, so close that you thought that he was going for another hug, but his hands -his manly, hairy hands that he was so proud of- reached up to cup your face. He leaned down so that his forehead nearly bumped yours.
“You fill my head,” he said in a hushed, reverent tone, and you noted that his breath smelled like banana and cinnamon. That was, of course, before you realized exactly what it was that he said. 'You fill my head.’ Your heart stuttered at the implication. "I hate going on adventures without you. I want to show you everything, I want to know what you think; I want to have you be with me, always. Forever. Because you were my best mate, and you still are, but you’re so much more than that and you’re amazing and brilliant and if I ever lose you I don’t think I’ll… and I just… I want… Please.“
"I…” What were you supposed to say? I love you? No, you couldn’t say that! No, no, no-no-no. Your mind went to Red Alert when you realized that the Doctor was waiting for some sort of response and you were so without a proper answer that you were learning the true meaning of the phrase 'tongue like lead.’
Wait, what was he doing? He was pulling away!
You looked, and the disappointment and hurt in his eyes was like a punch in the gut.
“It’s alright,” he said with a weak, thin smile that lied, lied, lied, filthy lying liar who lies. “I didn’t expect you to feel the same-”
It was only two seconds. Maybe just one. But in those two-seconds-maybe-one, your experienced what the Doctor might have identified as some sort of Time Sense. You saw your life, from this point on, without the Doctor. It wasn’t half bad. In fact, it was quite pleasant. You were married, successful in a career that you enjoyed, and surrounded by friends you would gain over the years. But then you imagined life with the Doctor. It was wild, and a bit scary, and there were certainly no mortgages or commuting to work. But you had a key to the TARDIS, and the Doctor looked at you like you held the universe, and there were no boundaries. No walls or fences. And you were so, so happy. With him.
And that only took a second or two. He had dropped his hands from your face and was pulling away, but oh no. That was not gonna happen, not if you had anything to say about it.
You reached out, grabbed the straying Doctor by the collar of his coat (the tie had been tempting but not within reach), and yanked him back to you. Forget whether or not it was in your nature, forget whether or not you were the sort to make life-changing decisions in a split-second, and please, forget caution! Throw it to the wind! Because you were not letting him get away. Not this time, and not because you were too silent to tell him-
“I love you.”
Your imagination realized that it made an error in its prediction of the future and corrected this mistake by adding kissing to the 'stay and love the Doctor forever’ scenario. Lots and lots of kissing. Because the Doctor was good, which was saying something, considering that he was practically attacking your mouth with his mouth. Points for the noises, though. He was whimpering, and you were quite sure that it was the most adorable, desperate sound you had ever heard.
“You mean it?” he panted into your mouth when your mouths finally broke contact, sounding far too close to heartbroken. “Really?”
“I do,” you answered, your bottom lip brushing against his. “More than anything.”
He would say it back to you later. You knew he would. In the meantime, he was going to enthusiastically teach you about all the different types of kisses in the universe. There was, apparently, a whole book about that particular subject. And he had been reading a lot lately.