It’s the middle of the night cycle and Rose is wandering the halls, trying to find the kitchen after the TARDIS moved it and refused to bring it back. It’s late and she’s in her sleepy-but-can’t-sleep mode and she just wants some tea to push her over the edge and knock her out.
It’s two more lefts, one right, two lefts and the third branch of a roundabout before Rose finally stumbles upon the kitchen, her pink bunny slippers dragging along the floor as she tiredly puts the kettle on. She opens the cabinet door to see all the cups gone except for two on the top shelf where she has no hope of reaching and, not for the first time tonight, she wonders if she’s done something to upset the TARDIS. Sighing, she reaches up on her tiptoes anyway, as if the extra inches will bring the cup within grasp, and suddenly there’s a cool body pressed up behind her and an arm next to hers, reaching up to grab the two mugs. She inhales a little faster than normal and tries to ignore the way he fits so perfectly against her, body curled around her like a parenthesis before he’s grabbing hold of the handles and stepping away, the two cups clenched in his hand.
“Rose! Didn’t expect you to be awake. What are you doing up - well, I know what you’re doing up, clearly, what with the cups and the kettle on, but what I mean to say is: trouble sleeping?”
It’s been six months since he traded his Northern accent for a London one, and she still hasn’t grown tired of his rambling. Sometimes, she wonders if it’ll fade, the love she has for all of his quirks (not matter which incarnation), but she doubts it - The Doctor is her Doctor, whether he’s her first or second or third (though she can’t help but hope it will never come to that, she’s grown quite fond of this face, but she knows she’ll love him even then). She smiles up at him. “Yes,” she murmurs quietly and knows she doesn’t need to say more, because he’ll just fill in the silence for himself (and she’s come to love the sound of his voice against the humming backdrop of the TARDIS).
He doesn’t disappoint, going off on a tangent about how many studies have linked drinking tea to falling asleep and how there’s special tea (“Yellow polkadots it’s called, and I swear, Rose, when I first heard it, I burst out laughing, though the Dydexians weren’t too happy about that…”) that lets you fall asleep and dream in technicolour swirls like you’re in Fantasia (though Rose doesn’t seem all that intrigued by it - she always feels that wondrous rush when she travels with the Doctor; she doesn’t need tea to make her feel like she’s in a Disney movie with bright colours, stunning music, and so many emotions she feels like her heart’s going to explode with it all.)
By the time he’s finished talking, the tea has long been finished and her head is drooping down against his shoulder. His shoulder rumbles against her ear when he whispers, “Alright, you. Time for bed.”
She grumbles, warm and comfortable, fitted against him, and she wonders what those swirly parentheses are called, because that’s what she feels like now, leg pressed against him and elbows tucked under his as her head buries itself deeper into his shoulder. He moves away and she opens her mouth to complain, but suddenly, she’s lifted into the air, the Doctor’s arms wrapping themselves behind her back and under her knees, craddling herself against him. She smiles against his neck, breathing in his scent before wrapping her arms in turn around him.
“This sleepy act was all just a clever ploy to get me to carry you to bed like a princess, wasn’t it? Admit it, Rose, I’m on to you now, you clever little minx. You asked the TARDIS to move the kitchen right next to the transdimentional hortduct I’m fixing, just so you can take advantage of my kind nature. Not that I blame you, of course, I’d want to be carried too if I were you - after all, my arms are quite manly and look at all these manly hairs, honestly, I’m impressed that I can even leave the TARDIS without people throwing themselves at my feet because they’re so overcome with awe.”
He’s teasing her and she’s chuckling against him, calling him the idiot that he is and telling him to shut it before his ego gets too big he can’t fit through the door anymore, but a small part of her wonders if maybe getting them together that might have been the TARDIS’ plan all along. But she’s tired and he’s warm and the thought fades away as the gentle rocking of his steps lulls her back to sleep.