"Damn it, Doctor, I'm not a child!" Rose yelled as she stood with the Time Lord in the console room.

They had just gotten back from another dangerous adventure. Rose had wandered off to explore, despite the Doctor's stern warning not to. She had ended up captured and nearly killed.

"I'm not saying you are a child, Rose. But you could have been killed out there. You're my responsibility and I promised your mother I'd look after you," the Doctor yelled back. "I told you not to wander off and you did. Do you have a hearing problem, Rose? Because I'd get that checked if I were you!"

"And you don't wander off and get into trouble, eh?"

"I know what I'm doing. I've done this for hundreds of years. You were nearly executed and once again I had to come to the rescue."

"Fine! Take me back home then if I'm such a burden!" Rose said before stomping out of the room.

She ignored the Doctor as he called her name and asked her to come back. Hot tears ran down her cheeks and she wiped them away with the back of her fingers while she stomped towards her room. She knew in her heart that the Doctor was right but her stubborn pride wouldn't let her say so, at least not yet. She decided to call down in her bedroom so she made a beeline for it. When she got there, she opened the door and slammed it shut, satisfied with the sound it made. She then flopped down on her bed and grabbed her pillow, tears streaming down her face. She hated arguing with the Doctor but she hated being treated like a child and condescended to when she was an adult just like him. She vaguely wondered if the Doctor really would take her back home and then decided at the moment she really didn't care if he did or not.

She lay there for a half hour staring at the ceiling while her tears finally dried up. Then she heard the door creaking open and she sighed through her nose, thinking the Doctor had come to continue the argument. She gave him a wary look as he came around the bed towards her face. Then she noticed he had a small plastic terrarium in his hand along with something wrapped up in white paper. The Doctor sat both on the bed beside her and went to get a chair. Rose noticed that there were thirty wriggling grey worms inside the terrarium and she made a face. She quickly put her head back down on the pillow when the Doctor pulled the chair up to the bed. She noticed he didn't look angry any more and took that as a good sign while she watched him open the green lid on the top of the terrarium.

"Can you guess what these are?" he said to her in a calm voice as he pointed inside the words.

"Worms," Rose said, shrugging.

"What sort?"

Rose frowned. They resembled short, stubby earthworms but they were greyer than the ones she'd seen. She raised her head and looked at them while the Doctor studied her.

"I don't know," she finally said, shaking her head.

"They're bore worms," the Doctor said.

"Oh," Rose said, not sure how to answer that.

"Bore as in boring into something like a drill, not bore as in they're boring things that put you to sleep," the Doctor said.

"Yeah?" Rose said, not sure where this was going.

The Doctor unwrapped the paper and showed her a hunk of meat and a pair of tweezers. Rose watched while he took the tweezers and plucked one of the worms out of the terrarium. He put it on top of the meat and Rose watched with gruesome fascination as the worm dug a hole into the meat and tunneled down into it.

"Bore worms are a form of torture," he said to her as he sat the meat inside the terrarium.

Rose watched while the other worms swarmed over the meat and bore their way into it.

"Imagine that being living flesh," the Doctor said as he put the lid back on. "Someone's back perhaps. That's what the worms do is tunnel down under the flesh while the person is writhing and screaming in pain."

"And this is to illustrate what might happen to me if I wander off again," Rose said in a snotty voice.

"No," the Doctor said calmly. "I'm actually studying them at the moment and I thought I might interest you in a demonstration of their abilities."

The Doctor's calm voice and demeanor calmed Rose and she felt her anger drain away while she watched the worms make holes in the hunk of meat.

"My people used these as a form of torture," the Doctor said while he watched the worms wriggle in and out of the meat. "It's a common form of torture, actually. If bore worms were available on Earth, I'm sure they'd be used there as well."

Rose glanced at the Doctor. He was perfectly calm, not a hint of anger while he watched the worms. It was a new thing for her in a relationship. Most of the men she dated would have continued fighting or sulked or pleaded with her to apologize and make amends and here the Doctor was simply showing her his latest project as if nothing had happened. She was calmer and more at peace since the demonstration and maybe the Doctor was doing this to take her mind off her anger. Whatever he was doing, it was working. She watched the worms for a moment before she finally decided to say what she needed to say to him.

"I'm sorry," she said.

The Doctor's eyes moved from the worms to her face but he said nothing while he gazed at her.

"I shouldn't have wandered off," Rose finally said. "It was stupid of me and you were right to be angry."

"I was angry because I was worried that you might be dead," the Doctor said calmly. "These bore worms are also found on Genonia and you could have landed up with a heap of them on your back."

"So it was your way of telling me what could have happened to me," Rose said.

"No, I really am studying them. But I decided that perhaps if I came in here and tried a different approach besides yelling at you that you would be more open and receptive to what I had to say. Yes, you could have ended up with these buggers on your back but the main reason I brought them in here was so I could distract you and calm you down enough that you could think rationally again. You calmed down enough that now we can have a discussion about what happened without bellowing at each other and yes, I was also at fault and I apologize, but I nearly lost you today and I let my emotions have full reign in the console room just as you did. I never said you weren't an adult but you need to be careful because the last thing I want is to bring your dead body back to Jackie. And then I'd be the one with these things on my back," he said, pointing to the worms. "Actually, no, Jackie would stuff them down my throat manually if I gave her your dead body."

Rose felt her tears returning and the Doctor moved the terrarium and the paper and tweezers to a nearby table before he sat down on the bed beside her.

"I'm sorry," Rose said, sniffing. "I'm trying to make you proud of me."

"You do make me proud, very proud," the Doctor said gently as he wiped away a tear. "And despite what I said earlier, I do get into trouble sometimes when I wander off and explore."

"Sometimes?" Rose said.

The Doctor chuckled.

"Okay, 99 percent of the time," he said.

They sat in silence for a moment while the Doctor waited for Rose to stop crying. When she finally did, he mentally asked the TARDIS to make the bed bigger. When the TARDIS stretched out the bed, he took off his shoes and stretched out beside her, staring up at the ceiling while he folded his hands on his stomach. Rose hesitated a moment before moving closer to him and stroking his cheek.

"I think we should go get a burger and a milkshake," he said as he glanced at her. "I'm thinking perhaps…1950's malt shop somewhere?"

"I'd love that," Rose said.

"Or I could strap you down and pour my friends on your back and watch you scream."

"Um…no, I'll give that a miss, thanks," Rose said while the Doctor grinned a cheesy grin at her.

They fell silent for a moment.

"Kiss this," the Doctor said, pointing to his right cheek.

Rose smiled and kissed where he indicated.

"Thank you, my kissometer was running low and I needed to refuel," he said. "Don't want my kissometer to be depleted. That would be bad."

Rose giggled and kissed his cheek again.

"Oops, now it's running over, I'll have to clean up the mess," the Doctor said.

"You're weird but I like that," Rose said.

"Yeah?" the Doctor said, glancing at her.

"Yeah," Rose said.

She was shocked when the Doctor suddenly kicked his legs up in the air while screaming "MUNGA MUNGA MOOM!" before he lowered his legs to the bed and fell silent. Rose bust out laughing at that and the Doctor grinned.

"Sorry, had a seizure of weirdness just then, it comes and goes," he said.

"You are such a child sometimes," Rose said fondly.

"So are you but in Gallifreyan terms twenty is childhood so I'll let it slide," the Doctor said. "So…malt shop?"

"Yeah," Rose said eagerly.

The Doctor kissed her on the cheek before sitting up.

"I could leave these in here with you as your personal pets," he said, pointing to the terrarium.

"No, get those ugly things outta here," Rose said.

"Sure? You could call them Spot, Fluffy, Fido, Killer…"

"No, I'll find something else to be my pet. Say, maybe you could be my pet, Doctor."

"Me? Ha! I'm no one's pet!" the Doctor said, standing up and grabbing the terrarium, paper and tweezers. "Come along, Tyler. The 1950's are waiting!"

"You got it! Rose said, getting up from the bed.

The Doctor smiled tenderly at her and told her to follow him so they could find something suitable for her to wear. Rose fell in step beside him and put her hand on his back while they walked to the door.


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