Hunched over the console, scratching something furiously onto a piece of paper, the Doctor looked like a busy man.
He was not.
Only a single train of thought chased itself in a loop inside his head.
What the hell did he think he was he doing?
Really. What the hell was he still doing?
He’d asked himself so many times now, and not once did it have the desired effect.
Not a single time did it stop him from thinking about her in that way.
A part of him, somewhere in the back of his mind, had been counting the times he’d said it to himself. It was a large number, and judging by past data, it would only get larger.
Rose Tyler, Rose Tyler, Rose Tyler.
Those eyes, that smile, those hips.
What the hell did he think he was he doing?
A part of him blamed his regeneration.
New bodies were tricky things. No two personalities reacted the same way. No two bodies had the same needs. He had no control over some things, over simple biology. Not his fault, that part.
A part of him blamed Cassandra.
With that single kiss she’d managed to throw him headlong over a precipice on which he was already teetering. One he had been so close to stepping away from.
That kiss planted a dangerous seed.
In the same way a person who has never had a drug cannot get withdrawals, he’d hoped to bypass any and all non-platonic intentions and thereby prevent development.
Instead the feeling grew in him over time and choked him like a vine. From a simple ‘I wonder how it might have been had it really been Rose’, to less pure thoughts that left him guilt ridden, jittery, and rash.
Oh so rash.
He’d been jonesing. He’d acted on his impulses and he was so ashamed.
The first time was forgivable. Almost.
They had been whispering to each other in the busy Ishtonta markets of Raxicon. Heads close together, thick as thieves. It was a matter of time before someone bumped into him, completely and predictably by accident.
The Doctor lost his balance, and far less accidentally fell into a kiss with Rose Tyler. He’d jumped back immediately, feigned surprise, and stammered some excuse to walk the other way. He hoped she didn’t see him brushing an absent thumb over his lips when his back was turned.
The second time was a sin.
Pre-planned, forethought. Consciously decided on and affirmed over the course of days.
When they landed on Plentallu in their curious blue box he pretended to be surprised they’d arrived on the day of the region’s fertility festival. He’d ducked back into the TARDIS to grab a marker, explained to her ‘If I mark both of our knuckles with a line they won’t try to pair us up with potential suitors.’
Lied through his teeth.
Failed to mention this would mark them as a fledgling couple. Strategically avoided saying culture demanded a kiss as they sat around the great purple bonfire, wide, shining black eyes of the Plentalli natives leaving them little choice but to comply.
He simultaneously savoured and denied the fact his mind dissolved into warm light during the simple touch.
Forgot to hide his expression when they broke apart.
He didn’t want to think of the other times he had brushed by her unnecessarily, just to feel her skin.
He wanted to drown himself after their most recent kiss, the one on the TARDIS. He roped her in with sweetness, was saturated in it himself until later on, when she padded off to bed and his skin prickled and burned with desire.
He was acting ridiculously childish. These were childish processes; hiding the way one felt, tricking others to satisfy one’s emotions, shifting the blame. Constantly torn between lust and romance, bouncing between each one without resistance like it was some sort of game.
While parts of him blamed other factors, the vast majority of him blamed himself. Not a skerrick of the blame fell to Rose.
He was supposed to be the responsible one. She was barely more than a child. He was 47 times older than her.
Exactly why this was so wrong.
He was a filthy old man.
That was his new way of dealing with the problem.
Hunched over the TARDIS console, scratching the same circular patterns into the same groove of the same piece of paper, over and over again. The pencil he used was wearing down. The tip constantly snapped from the sheer force he applied with each stroke. The paper itself was crumpled and smudged, constantly being shoved into pockets by a clenched fist, only to be flattened out again in private to endure more abuse.
Simple circles, phonetically transcribing the english words that summed up this new brand of self loathing.
‘Is that Gallifreyan?’
He jumped, reflexively jamming the thing back into his jacket pocket like a schoolboy hiding a damning secret, and whirled around.
‘Oh, yeah, this is- is nothing.’
‘Did I scare you, Doctor?’ She asked, mischievous, tongue-touched smile playing at her features.
His eyes fell to that smile and sweetness and burning desire fell over his body in waves.
His hand twitched in his pocket.
Filthy old man.