He was hovering. He admitted it. The Doctor was not always honest with himself, but this, at least, he could admit.
Rose Tyler had agreed to stay with him, she’d packed a bag and said goodbye to her not-entirely-useless boyfriend, and come along with him. Even after he’d almost gotten her killed. He took her to the horsehead nebula and opened the doors of his fantastic time machine and they’d watched the colors dance past them. Rose seemed subdued, and he worried it was something he’d done.
So he did the best thing he could think to do and he took her somewhere marvelous. The sunflower fields of Moxhaven, where the bright yellow flowers grew tall and as far as the eye could see. They’d nearly died, again, and with Rose bleeding from a cut to her head and he sporting what he was almost certain was a broken toe, they limped back to the ship. He fixed her up first, and she was a regular champ about the whole thing. Only winced a little when he sterilized and closed the wound.
“What about you?” she wondered, in typical fashion.
“Oh you know, not much you can do for a broken toe, really. Besides, Time-Lord biology, I’ll be fine in no time.” He wasn’t lying to her, but he could tell from her face that she thought he was. It was a fair thing to think, he imagined. She seemed to know his damage in a way he, himself hadn’t even properly grasped yet.
He smiled at her then, a big grin that she couldn’t help mirroring just a little. Humans, bless them. “Really sure. It’s just a toe.”
Pacified, she nodded once. “Alright. I’m gonna go lay down, if it’s all the same to you.” She put a finger gingerly to the gauze on her forehead. He knew it wasn’t that it hurt. He'd made sure of that.
“Yeah, alright,” he said in reply and offered her his arm.
Her room was pink, just like in her flat back on earth. It wasn’t a big room but it was homey and familiar. He hadn’t really had a chance to look around, so he did, as she dressed in her restroom. He’d peeked in there too. The TARDIS had given her a large tub and a big vanity with lots of lights. She had declared the room ‘absolutely brilliant’, and he’d beamed at her. Proud somehow. He knew the TARDIS approved before the room had been made, but it was nice to see concrete proof.
So, he poked about in the pink room. The lighting was low, preparing Rose for sleep. There was a picture of Jackie Tyler on the nearly-empty dresser, plush toys in a pile on the corner, and a teddy bear he’d never seen before between her pillows on her frankly humongous bed. He sat on the plush pink bedspread and reached out for the little toy. It was dark brown and bore no clothing but a little red bow-tie. He smiled a bit at that and straightened it. It made him think of his own children, which made him sad. He ran a hand over the little thing’s head gently and put it back where he’d found it.
Rose emerged, dressed in her PJs and saw him there. There must have been something of his sorrow showing on his face because she walked over to him and stood before him, his eyes on the level of her sternum, just below her singular, fragile heart.
She reached out for him and pulled his head to her body, his ear pressed against the bit where sternum gave way to less indispensable organs. He wrapped his arms around her back, flat along her spine and held himself there as she ran her hands through the short hair on the back of his neck.
“You’re not okay then,” she said, not a question. Her voice is quiet and muffled by the density of her body and the press of his ear against her.
“Not usually,” he admitted, lightly. A long pause. “That alright?”
“Yeah, a’course,” she said with a small sigh. “No one can be okay all the time.” She let him go a bit to sit next to him, but her hand was still in his hair. “I have to sleep, I’m really sorry. Do you want to lay here? For a while?”
She didn’t want to be alone, he could hear it in her voice, even if it wasn’t plainly written in the lines of her face. No, maybe not quite right. She didn’t want HIM to be alone, and that felt more true, for all that it was an improbability. She was waiting for his answer, chewing on her lip.
“Yeah,” he said quietly.
“Great,” she said, clearly relieved.
Rose climbed under the covers, leaving him enough room to lay down. He removed his coat and lay on top of the bedclothes. “Wait til I fall asleep, yeah?” she asked, but by the look of it that wasn’t going to be long.
“Yeah,” he replied again. He handed her the teddy bear and put a hand on her soft, fine blond hair. “I’ll be here.”