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Drowning

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The storms on this planet were rare and unpredictable, but the Doctor had somehow managed to land them right smack in the middle of one. Of course they’d left the Tardis outside the city, oblivious of the danger until it was too late.

Now Rose and the Doctor were trapped in another prison cell, abandoned by their jailers to meet their fate in the flooded basement. As the storm raged overhead, the dams went down with the powerlines and water rushed into the city’s streets. The old county jail was no match for the torrent of water that kept coming and coming. It started out as a drip in the ceiling and then a trickle seeping in through the cracked foundation, lapping at their shoes, and stroking the dark telling stains they’d ignored. Ten minutes later the moldy mattress on the floor was soaked and within an hour the icy water was swirling around their legs.

The Doctor had searched his pockets and had exhausted every last resource he had in the absence of his sonic screwdriver, but nothing worked on the lock. He’d given Rose something to combat the hypothermia, but that wouldn’t be enough to save her as the water climbed higher and they crouched together atop the cracked sink. He could swim for miles and hold his breath for a very long time, but Rose was only human.

He was inspecting the suspended pipes overhead when one suddenly burst. Rose shrieked. The Doctor held her close and tried to protect her from the filthy water that sprayed out of the rusty pipe, but it wasn’t enough. He pressed a kiss to her wet hair and tasted the bacteria that would kill her if drowning didn’t do it first. She shivered, cuddling closer to him and making it so much harder to think.

She couldn’t die like this, he wouldn’t allow it.

He looked up at the pipes and a plan started to form.

It took him twenty minutes and his hands were blistered and bloody, but eventually he got half the lock off by hammering at it with the broken pipe. The water had reached his chest and Rose…

He glanced back and for a second there was nothing but the rising dark water.

“Rose? Rose!”

He took a deep breath and went under. The cell wasn’t large, but it took his eyes an agonizing second to find her in the murkiness, suspended above the mattress they’d abandoned. With her light hair splayed out around her and arms stretched wide, she was the most beautiful and terrifying thing he’d ever seen.

He grabbed her round the waist and dragged her up to the surface. Immediately she gasped for breath and opened her eyes. Before he could ask, she held up a hairpin. It must’ve been in his pocket.

“Think you’re gonna need this to get us out of here,” she said, grinning.

He could’ve kissed her right then, but he waited until later when they were safe within the vortex, and he’d ensured her brief exposure to the bacteria wasn’t enough to be harmful.

The sense of relief left him breathless, but Rose’s answering smile was like a tidal wave, knocking him down and pulling him under. He was intoxicated by her, drowning in pink and yellow, and it had never felt so good.

He swept her up off the table and into his arms, letting himself be taken in by the current. The rising tide carried them back to his bedroom, to a passionate night they’d never forget.

*

Only later, after they’d been separated, did they learn how many, many ways there were to drown.