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Domestic but Never Domesticated

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I create myself and a new future with you
The TARDIS made her normal sounds as they moved: a cross between an alarm and a machine in need of oiling, and a lovely heartbeat meant to welcome and comfort and soothe.

Rose pressed the buttons the Doctor showed her, his body pressed flush against hers, his mouth against the skin of her neck as he taught her how to fly his beloved ship—their home. She leaned into him, felt his hardness against the curve of her bum and deliberately rocked her hips against his.

He breathed out her name, and pulled her blouse aside to nip her bare shoulder. Just light enough to make Rose shiver; just hard enough to promise more. She tilted her head to the side, automatically offering him whatever access he wanted to her skin.

His hands, large and cool, came up her belly, slipped under her shirt and cupped her breasts. His teeth grazed the side of her neck and bit down on the sensitive skin between shoulder and neck. When his fingers tweaked her nipples, she lost all sense of piloting.

“Doctor,” she gasped. Eyes closed, Rose arched into his body, his touch.

Then the TARDIS rocked sharply and Rose lost her grip. She stumbled out of his arms and against the railing with a laughing gasp and met the Doctor’s own darkly amused bright blue gaze.

That laugh, that smile, that lightness had shown itself more frequently. Just before the Game Station and Daleks, she’d noticed how more relaxed he was. She’d been patient and with every minute-hour-day that passed, he grew lighter.

Rose embraced that change in him, just as she embraced him.

In her head, Rose now heard the TARDIS’s song and embraced that, too. The newness of the connection; the warmth and comfort and acceptance of it.

“Should I have mentioned you need to hold on?” the Doctor asked, though they both knew that was implied whenever they landed and went exploring.

At least this time he didn’t say anything about tearing open the TARDIS. Rose considered that progress, too.

They’d come a long way in the week or so (give or take a relative day) since she’d rescued him from the middle of a Dalek fleet. Since she’d destroyed the entirety of the Daleks and saved both her Doctor and the human race. She felt no sorrow at that, no guilt at wiping out the Daleks and their mad emperor.

In the (relative) week since then, there had been too many changes in her life—in their lives. Rose knew, however, that she’d have nightmares once things settled. Once she and the Doctor’s lives settled and the manic energy of being fully together had developed into more—more of a routine, more of a life, more of them being together.

“I was holding on,” she said cheekily with a wink and laughed again. “To you.” Rose pushed off the railing, shoved a lock of hair behind her ear, and resumed her position.

Not her position against the Doctor, as she’d have liked to, but at the controls. Manning her station. The TARDIS rocked again, but just as Rose realized she was headed for the grating, the Doctor’s strong arms wrapped around her and cushioned her fall.

“Hmmph,” the Doctor grunted, hands on her hips.

His eyes burned as they watched her, as if nothing else in the universe mattered. The spark of mad loneliness eased, muted. She thought and hoped (prayed) she had a small part in doing that. In easing the burdens he continually placed on his shoulders—whether justifiable or not.

Hoped and prayed and pleaded with any deity in the universe that he never felt that way again.

The ship stood perfectly still—they’d landed. The alarms stopped, the whirling of the Time Rotor quieted, the lights brightened just that little bit as they did when they weren’t in motion. Everything fell silent.

“Perfect,” he murmured. One hand cradled the back of her head, his long fingers gentle on her scalp, his thumb a tender caress just behind her ear.

In a heartbeat the mood changed from laughing and joyous and loud, to soft and intimate and delicate. Not fragile, not breakable. Just supple, smooth and quiet and gentle.

Perfect.

Rose melted, her heart warm and full to bursting with words and feelings and forever. She pressed her lips to his cooler ones, kissing him as if they had all the time in the world—in the universe.

Now they did.

She and the TARDIS created more than Bad Wolf. They created forever.

She scraped the nails of one hand over his close-cropped hair and settled more firmly over him, hips cradling his, rocking leisurely against the denim covering his hardness.

“Rose.” His voice was strangled, now, and the harsh sound of her name sent lightning heat through her.

The Doctor’s hands slipped down her back, over the thin cotton of her blouse. Curved over her bum, keeping her close. Slowly pushed up her blouse, calloused fingertips a feather-light touch against her smooth skin.

She shivered against him, his touch sure and even and knew exactly what to do, how to touch her. One week (ish), one fantastic week and already he knew her body—knew where to touch and tease, knew how to drive her mad with desire.

Beneath her now bare belly she felt the cool scratch of his wool jumper, the roughness of his jeans. Rose hissed in arousal, shuddering against him. Felt his hardness pressed to her inner thigh and rocked against him once more.

“Doctor,” she sighed against his mouth.

The heat built slowly. Rose always wanted him; had always wanted him, knew she always would want him. But this was not a quick, desperate kiss or a rush to touch and taste and feel. This was unhurried and deliberate; drawn out in caresses and teasing and yes, right there.

She pulled back and opened her eyes to watch him, study his beloved face. One finger traced his brow, down his cheek to his chin. Along his strong nose. Over his lips, now moist from hers. He sucked her finger into his mouth, his blazing blue gaze never leaving hers.

Heat and passion and adoration darkened his gaze to the color of a storm, a name well earned. Rose shivered again. Not from fear, no. From love and acceptance and belonging.

The Doctor released her finger, one hand cupping the back of her head again, the other twining with her hand. His kiss was hard now, possessive and greedy and just the right side of domineering. He took and took and Rose offered everything she was to him.

Always had. Always would.

Breathing heavily, he broke the kiss. Eyes more black now than blue, but still so focused on her, still so full of all the things he couldn’t say.

It shimmered there, pressing against the link she’d unknowingly forged when she’d broke open the TARDIS in her desperate attempt to save his life. She smiled against his mouth, lips just pressing to his.

Rose knew how he felt about her. Saw it, felt it, understood it on a level far beyond words. She brushed her free hand over his cheek. Watched him in silent understanding.

“How long are you going to stay with me?”

His voice was harsh and desperate and yet flowing over her with every quiet word. Catching on the words as if she hadn’t told him the same thing a dozen times since the Game Station and Bad Wolf and I want you safe, my Doctor.

The quiet question was a vow—a promise, a pledge.

Asked and accepted in the aftermath of protecting him and merging with the TARDIS. Of saving Jack and realizing the extent of all that she’d caused to happen. Of desperate couplings and frantic kisses and eager hands on each other.

Of You’re alive and Don’t ever leave me, please.

“Forever,” she whispered, as she had each time he asked. Each time he’d ever ask, with her heart in her words, in her eyes.

The Doctor drew in a sharp breath, his smile widening. Then he shook himself, hands on her hips to set her upright, he pulled her to him once they both stood. His mouth swiftly took hers once again before he broke away.

“Doga‘gr,” he said with that wide grin that had first captivated her. Then captured her. Caught her heart and imprinted on her soul. “Greatest agricultural planet in Barnard’s Galaxy.”

“Discovered by someone named Barnard, then?” Rose asked as he helped her into her new blue leather jacket before shrugging on his own black leather one.

Oh, they made a pair. And she wouldn’t change one thing about them.

“Exactly. Edward Emerson Barnard, human,” the Doctor added because he liked to clarify these things, “spotted this galaxy in 1884. Also known as NGC 6822, IC 4895, and Caldwell 57. Humans.” He shook his head as he pushed open the TARDIS door. “Naming things a dozen which way.”

Rose wisely refrained from commenting and settled for rolling her eyes. But then the Doctor held out his hand in the quiet lavender dawn, or what she thought was dawn, and tugged her against him. His lips brushed the top of her head and his fingers curled around hers.

“And we’re just in time for the harvest festival.”

“You know, Doctor,” Rose said as they set out down a well-worn path. “If you wanted more seeds for the TARDIS garden, all you had to do was say.”

He gave her a baleful glare but didn’t comment. Snickering, Rose graced him with a smile that held just a hint of her tongue in the corner of her mouth. She knew how it drove him wild.

The growl that rumbled in his chest as he tugged her off the path and pushed her against the tree was well worth it.

Chapter Text

The Doctor shoveled the small pile of manure into the larger one in the corner. On Doga’gr even the waste was put to use. This particular excrement was to be taken outside (by someone most definitely not him) and laid out in the sun to dry into bricks, then sold to the more remote areas of the planet for their hearths.

He didn’t mind the work, and it was a good trade for the seeds he’d wanted. It’d been too long since the TARDIS garden had fresh fruits and vegetables. During the War, it hadn’t mattered—he’d lived off the Gallifreyan nutrient bars and hadn’t planned on surviving.

After the War, he hadn’t cared.

Then Rose came along and reminded him of all the pleasures he’d taken from his garden — the flowers and the natural cycle of grown and fruition.

It was only just before Cardiff that he’d shown her the empty gardens and she’d promised to help him start anew.

Doga’gr had a wide variety of seeds: fruits and vegetables from across three galaxies, flowers from across the known universe. He was hoping, though he had barely admitted it to himself, to find a remnant of Gallifrey here.

He wanted to share a small part of his planet with Rose.

So far, however, the network of contacts the small village of Dais‘gr used to connect with the other villages yielded nothing. But it was early yet, and the Doctor still had hope.

He remembered how he quite liked hope.

“I’ve come to tempt you from your work.”

He turned at the sound of Rose’s voice and grinned. She’d offered to work the land, too, but he preferred her to study. His contribution was enough for what they needed, and as they used the TARDIS for room and board, Rose didn’t need to work the farms.

What she did need to do was work on her telepathy.

They’d been on Doga‘gr for a three days. Three days of adding to the TARDIS’s seed storage and of making friends with the locals.

Three days of Rose practicing the telepathy she’d suddenly been capable of thanks to her newly formed bond with the TARDIS. He still wasn’t sure how he felt about that.

Terrified was a good word.
So was indebted.

In the time they’d traveled together, the Doctor had used many words to describe Rose in his life. Friend and companion; partner and equal. Savior. Forever. Soul.

In the days since the Game Station and dumping Jack off with Jackie in London (with strict instructions not to even think about it!) he’d admitted to other words that described what Rose meant to him.

Words he’d never dared acknowledge. Not in the light of day holding her hand or the dark of night watching her sleep. Not even to himself.

Everything.

One word summed up what couldn’t be calculated, what couldn’t be quantified.
What he couldn’t yet speak.

“I’m easily tempted,” he admitted and quickly shoveled the rest of the manure into the corner.

Grabbing a small towel that hung on the peg by his work shirt, he dipped it into the water and quickly washed splatters of manure off his chest. Superior Time Lord Physiology did wonders for sweat and odor. It didn’t do much for splashes of dung from what passed for cows here.

Shrugging his brown oxford shirt on, he quickly buttoned it.

“Shame,” Rose murmured and moved closer.

He grabbed her close and she gasped in joy. “I’m not making love to you in a barn,” he growled.

Then he kissed her. She wound her arms about his neck and pressed her body close to his. The Doctor lifted her higher and Rose wrapped her legs about him, too. Through the heavy work pants he’d found in the wardrobe, he felt her heat and smelled the beautiful scent of Aroused Rose.

“Rose,” he breathed, easing back, setting her down.

Her hand cupped his face, and he leaned into the touch. “My Doctor.”

“Come on,” he said and grabbed her hand. “Tempt me someplace else.”

“I have just the spot,” she promised and pulled him out of the barn.

They walked along the dirt path by a copse of trees, and the Doctor took the opportunity to gently probe her mind. It still terrified him, what she’d done with the TARDIS. What she’d done to herself. He wasn’t worth it.

Both the women in his life disagreed.

Rose’s barriers were up, strong—stronger than he’d thought after so little time practicing. She looked at him from the corner of her eye and a thin tendril of lust-love-Rose wound from her to him.

Impressed, he hummed in delight. She was a quick learner, his Rose.

“I can’t believe they gave up technology for the simple life,” Rose said. “We spend all our time inventing new things to make our lives easier and they gave it all up.”

The tendril still teased him, but the Doctor bided his time. She rested her head against his arm and offered a little sigh of contentment.

That one sound was enough to keep him moving for lifetimes.

“I mean I’m all for physical labor,” she continued.

The Doctor snorted but wisely refrained from commenting.

She wrinkled her nose up at him as they passed a group of farmers digging a well by hand. “I’d just figure that by the 44th century they’d realize how much easier it’d be to use technology to do stuff like this.”

“It’s not the use of technology,” he said.

It’s getting back to their roots. He did it before she realized what he’d planned, purposely trying to catch her off guard.

Rose jolted at the telepathic connection. Her barriers remained strong, but he sensed a small crack in them. With a start, he realized that tendril continued to call to him, promising all sorts of erotic delights. Of Rose’s mouth on his, of Rose’s body surrounding him. Of Rose arching into his touch and of her touch on his body, stroking and teasing.

The Doctor waited, continued to walk, hand securely wrapped around hers. He cast out his own thread of lust-love-him, and felt it in the heartsbeat she grabbed onto it and wrapped it in herself. Then Rose shook herself and he felt his words wash over her with the warmth of his love, the depth of his commitment to her.

She was so open. So accessible with him. Never hid behind a closed door or deflected with a mirror.

He waited patiently for her response. It still took her a little time to refocus from external speech to internal, but the sole reason (well major reason, well an important reason at least) they’d come to Doga‘gr was to work on her newfound telepathy.

She took a deep breath to relax and opened her mind to his.

I know, she thought back.

It spread through him with that same warmth he’d felt in her. Blossomed in his mind and through his soul, throwing light on the darkness and cradling his sins with forgiveness.

It’s not solely relying on technology or letting technology control their lives. She looked up at him and wrinkled her nose again, grin widening. See? I was listening.

The Doctor laughed out loud.

The strength of her love moved through him with his laugh, and he let it slowly fade. Rose lifted their joined hands and brushed her lips over his knuckles. His hearts stuttered and the Doctor wondered if he’d ever grow used to the intensity of feeling between them.

In a hundred years, a thousand, he knew he would not.

Still not going to close those doors? He asked.

The first dozen or so times they’d practiced, he’d brusquely demanded she close those doors. A silently desperate plea to not engulf him in the depth-strength-power of her love. This time it was with the fond exasperation of the knowledge, the understanding, the embracing of Rose’s love for him.

However undeserving he knew himself to be of her love.

The Doctor swallowed hard and tightened his fingers around hers. A surge of emotion—love and acceptance and unworthiness and adoration—he couldn’t yet give voice to.

They’d been truly together only a short time, but an eternity stretched out before them. It terrified him. It humbled him. He wanted to run but more he wanted to embrace it. Run with her, the Doctor realized and wondered if he’d ever be able to tell her all she meant to him.

Lucky for him, Rose was patient. She’d wait.

Told ya. I don’t have anything to hide. It’s like telling my lover about my past. Except you get to know all of it. Rose returned his love, his adoration, his acceptance. He felt, faintly, her hope that he understood she’d wait until he was ready to say the words. Wait for the forever they now had.

“Hmph,” he grumbled, throat tightening on words he couldn’t yet say and on feelings he didn’t know how to accept and on Rose. Simply Rose.

Yes, that was what she meant to him. Everything.

Rose stopped, serious now, and turned to him. One hand cupped his face, thumb brushing the goatee he’d decided to grow. He’d said it was to better fit in with the population, but Rose had only laughed at his explanation.

Dead sexy, this, she thought to him just before her lips pressed to his. Very tempting.

The Doctor quickly deepened the kiss. His hands fell to her hips, and he stepped off the path into the shadows of the trees that lined the road.

“Rose.” Her name was a guttural sound of need—it moved through him in a wave of her, swamped him but didn’t drown him. All of her. He held onto his control by a thread. “My Rose.”

“Yes,” she breathed against his mouth. Thought it, the beating truth of it flashing brightly along their bond. Simply knew it to be true. “Yes, my Doctor.”

He deepened the kiss, his mouth so unbearably gentle on hers, he felt her own wave of unutterably overwhelming emotion. Felt the tears that the kiss—that he—brought to her eyes. Rose breathed in and wrapped her arms around his shoulders as she wrapped his heart with the warmth of her love.

“Forever,” she promised.

He lifted her against him, pressed her back to the tree. One hand held her steady while the other slipped beneath the skirt she’d worn as yet more temptation and found her center. He growled at her lack of knickers, the wet heat of her arousal, and she laughed.

Wondered when you’d notice. Her words danced through his mind, so focused despite her lack of discipline and the way he currently distracted her. The Doctor hardened even more, straining for her touch, to be enveloped in her wetness.

His fingers easily slipped through her curls, inside her. Rose’s breath hitched and she whimpered, hips thrusting against his hand.

Doctor. His name flowed through him, her breath caressed his skin.

The Doctor growled against her cloth-covered breast and tried to rein in the burst of possession-need-hunger as his mouth returned to hers. He knew the bark of the tree scraped against her back, knew it but also felt it, and forced himself to move them.

He drew his control around him, knew that sooner rather than later he’d exert that control over Rose. He wanted to many things with her, now that he’d finally let himself accept a future with her. Wanted to hear her beg, wanted to watch her pleasure herself, wanted to introduce her to all the erotic delights in the universe.

Wanted to feel her come around his fingers and cock and against his mouth. And wanted to feel her orgasm flood her mind through their connection. The Doctor had had many experiences over his lives, but never had he experienced true telepathic sex.

It was only fitting Rose be the first. And last. The only.

When he withdrew his fingers, she whimpered and gasped. He gave her a wicked grin, full of promise and offered his fingers to her. Without batting an eye, she took them into her mouth and swirled her tongue over and around them.

Hard and aching for her, the Doctor growled. He removed his fingers from her mouth so he could kiss her, bruising and punishing and she opened to him and kissed him back, nails digging into his shoulders.

He shrugged off his jacket, dropped it to the ground and picked her up, tight against him. Her breath hitched as he slowly lowered her to the soft lining.

“Beautiful Rose,” he whispered against her skin. “My beautiful Rose.”

Nipped down her throat, long lingering kisses against the pounding point of her pulse. His hands gripped her thighs and pushed the skirt out of his way. He’d tasted and teased every inch of her, yet the Doctor knew he’d never get enough. Never wanted to.

The sigh of his name as she arched into his hands made his hearts pound.
The hitch in her breath as she dug her nails into his back made his own breath catch.
The way she opened for him made him a humble supplicant before her.

Time slowed around them, stretched and stretched—each heartbeat a minute, each breath an hour.

“Doctor,” she sighed, arched into is hands, his body.

My Doctor.

He made love to her silently as the morning sunlight dappled through the trees. It should’ve been fast and frantic, still clothed as they were. It was slow and drawn out, every sigh, every breath, every gasp.

The scent of leather and her (Rose and time and forever) surrounded him. Permeated his skin and he never wanted to forget it. She ran her fingers over his spine, and he groaned, thrust faster, harder, shifted just so and hooked her leg over his arm.

Her fingers pressed into his lower back, his denim-clad bum, pulled him even deeper, and suddenly her orgasm splintered over her and she was laid bare before him. Her soul open and shining and his.

The sound of his name on her lips echoed around them.

The Doctor thrust faster, mouth rough on hers, orgasm twisting through him tighter and tighter. Rose clenched around him, body begging him to follow her into the abyss.

With a cry of her name, his mind reaching for hers as automatically as if they’d been lovers for decades instead of days, the Doctor came hard within her.

****
Later, after her breathing evened out and her heart calmed, Rose curled against the Doctor’s side, her fingers entwined with his. His thumb brushed over the back of her hand and she shivered from the touch. So simple. So important.

“When you do that,” she said, only now realizing where they were.

Face hot, she self-consciously tugged her skirt lower, hoping to cover as much as possible. In the time they’d been lovers, they’d been in the TARDIS. In his bed, then in theirs when the TARDIS made a new bedroom for them.

Rose hadn’t done more than hold his hand or hug him in public, and while both of them were normally affectionate, this was different. Making love in the open, where anyone could happen by and see them. Or hear them…

Embarrassed, she had to force herself to look up at him.

“You never have to be embarrassed with me, Rose.” The Doctor looked down at her and brushed her hair off her face, fingers the gentlest of touches.

He smiled, his hand still rubbing gentle lines up and down her back, the other reaching for her fingers. His eyes were light now, not just a lighter blue but softer. Eased, maybe was the word she searched for and even that wasn’t quite right. Lighter-softer-happier. Relaxed.

Happy.

She smiled softly and leaned into his touch. “I know.”

Rose did know. They’d been through so much, meant so much more to each other than the simple term of lovers. But it’d take longer than 10 days they had been lovers for her to move beyond her need to not talk about certain things.

Then she pulled back and licked her lips, watching him carefully—curiously. “When you do that slowing time thing, can…can anyone hear us?”

Laughter rumbled in his chest and his lips brushed over the top of her head. He didn’t open his eyes again, but didn’t stop the soothing motion of his hand, either. His hearts beat easily beneath her ear and Rose felt the difference in his body—more relaxed now.

“I’m a Time Lord, Rose,” he said with a smile in his voice. “If I can slow time, I can slow sound, too.”

Her grin widened. “You mean all they’ll hear is you shouting my name in some weird drawn-out way?” She snickered. “A long howling sound they can’t identify? It’ll be one of those stories they talk about but no one believes.”

The Doctor smiled, but didn’t answer and she wondered if he even knew. But he didn’t move, didn’t seem to care, which was an interesting change from the constantly moving man (alien? Time Lord? Being?) she’d known until…two weeks ago?

Until two days before they’d come here? Had that been when they’d both accepted, finally-completely-irrevocably accepted all the changes in their lives?

All the changes Bad Wolf—Rose and the TARDIS as one entity—and purposely caused?

His hand tightened on hers, the fingers of his other hand gently running up and down her arm. She rested her head back on his shoulder and breathed him in as she rolled the words around her head for a beat. They were dangerous, magnificent words and born from love and yet she debated hiding them behind a door and closing that door firmly behind her—with locks and chains.

Oh! Handcuffs…no. Wait. Although…Rose slowly smiled and ran a finger down the shell of his ear. Could be interesting. Yes, definitely interesting.

He leaned into her. Words. Right. It didn’t matter. She’d been honest, opened her heart to him and laid her soul bare. She wouldn’t allow fear to change that and wow, was she a little dramatic today.

Rose took a deep breath and decided the time might never be ‘right’. But her heart really was full and she needed to tell him. Needed to make sure he knew. The words might be insignificant compared to all she felt, how the emotion filled her up, but Rose needed him to know.

Her words need to be said aloud.

“I love you,” she whispered.

The Doctor’s breath released in a long whoosh of air. His hand tightened on hers. The fingers on her back suddenly moved, clenched around her hip. As if to hold her closer to him.

“Rose Tyler,” he breathed.

The syllables rolled off his tongue, smooth and silky. As if he tasted every letter, knew every meaning of the words by heart. His hands tightened on hers. No one said her name like he did. As if it was the only name—the only words—in the entire universe, in all the universes, that mattered.

It was I love you and Forever and You’re mine and I’m yours and this is it. There’s no one else for me.

He didn’t say I love you. Rose didn’t need those words. She knew.

It blazed across her mind and her soul and even if the words themselves terrified him, she knew. She always knew.

Chapter Text

Mucking the stables wasn’t so bad, the Doctor told himself. Again. Neither was helping to rebuild a barn or getting along with the locals during whatever harvest party they’d been invited to.

And they’d been invited to all of them.

Living on this planet, albeit in the TARDIS, for the last month wasn’t so bad, either.

And Rose…well, nothing was bad with Rose.

Rose had a way with charming the locals, befriending them. And they invited her everywhere. Despite not needing to work in trade for the seeds the Doctor wanted, Rose pitched in. Whenever they weren’t working on her burgeoning telepathy or she wasn’t practicing the deep meditation he’d shown her to better focus on her changing physiology, Rose talked with people.

And visited him. Tempted him.

The Doctor had been tempted by a great many things over the centuries. Rose surpassed them all. Before, her openness tempted him. Her compassion and understanding had curled around him, a beautiful song he wrapped around himself. He’d give up anything to keep her safe. And had.

He’d been ready to sacrifice his own life and the TARDIS, his only constant friend, just to keep Rose safe.

Now he was unable to resist her body. He’d spent every moment of every day they spent together since she’d run into his ship trying to resist her. The Doctor wondered if he’d still be able to resist her if she hadn’t changed.

No. No he wouldn’t have been able to.

His resistance had already been razor thin, held together by sheer stubborn willpower. If he’d regenerated as he’d thought he’d been about to, the Doctor knew his restraint would’ve snapped.

He couldn’t bring himself to worry over it.

Still, something itched in the back of his brain. At first, the Doctor thought it was the changes in Rose.

Her merger with the TARDIS had altered her in ways even he didn’t fully understand. He’d run every test he could think of, including several he doubted would yield any useful information but he’d needed to do something. Needed to find the extent of the changes she’d made to herself.

Most of all needed to make sure Rose was safe.

And if the TARDIS knew more than what his tests had yielded (or hadn’t yielded), she wasn’t telling. Cheeky ship.

No, it was more than that. The mindless movement of shoveling, or using an old fashioned hammer on old-fashioned nails had lent him hours to think. (He couldn’t use his sonic screwdriver here; despite the high-tech medical equipment on the planet, high-tech tools weren’t allowed. Though he kept the screwdriver close. Just in case.)

It wasn’t even the constant presence of Rose—a wonderful new buzzing in the back of his brain, empty for so long.

But no matter how he thought about it or questioned himself or worried the niggling thoughts, the Doctor couldn’t place what was wrong.

If Rose’s transformation had truly harmed her, he knew the TARDIS would tell him.

He did wonder how long her longevity was. Was it tied to his life? The TARDIS’s? Did she have regenerative capabilities? He hoped to any deity available to listen to the last of the Time Lord’s broken, frantic prayers that Rose wasn’t truly immortal.

Like Jack.

Jack. Was it Jack? Or the thought of Jack, that caused this unscratchable itch?

The Doctor hadn’t thought overmuch on the man since he’d managed to slip into the TARDIS seconds before dematerialization. They’d returned to Earth, let Jackie and Mickey know everyone was alive and well, dropped Jack off with strict instructions not to do anything Rose would have to hurt him for, and departed again.

But Jack…what Rose had done to him.

“The final act of the Time War,” he muttered to the horses watching him work. “Her final act was life. I guess that counts for something.”

Could he learn to travel with Jack again? The TARDIS seemed torn on that subject, too. The trip from the Game Station back to Earth had not been the smoothest.

At least he hadn’t been regenerating at the time.

And Rose had been sluggish, but alive. Oh so alive.

The Doctor dipped the towel in a bucket of water and quickly washed off. His Superior Time Lord Physiology prevented him from something as mundane as smelling, but he liked to clean up a bit before meeting Rose.

Oh. Ohhh. That was it.

He grimaced and let the wealth of meaning in his realization roll round his brain.

Hearth and home.

That’s what this was. Working day after day. Eating with Rose, making love to Rose. Sleeping even, with Rose. His life had become a routine. It’d become…

Was this really domestic? They’d built a home on the TARDIS long before now. Before even Jack’s appearance. The barren corridors and the silent rooms had turned into much more than the empty spaces they’d been since the Time War.

Family—he wanted a family with Rose. Rose was his family. But children? He’d never thought about it, not seriously. Not after his family had been…since he’d pressed the button and...but now. Were he and Rose compatible? He hadn’t checked that, but suddenly the Doctor wondered if that oversight in the grand scheme of all the tests he’d done, had been on purpose.

A family with Rose.

Even allowing Jackie in the mix—and all right, Mickey, too—the Doctor didn’t find that thought overly repugnant, or repugnant at all. Except maybe more frequent visits to London. He could probably deal with that.

Tempting? Yes. Irresistible? Oh, yes.

They already argued, from different moralities to what to eat and where, to who finished the last of the milk. Or when she refused to use the sonic washing machine because it damaged her favorite wool sweater from Pilotage Minor and he’d had to wash it by hand to make it up to her.

Domestic.

The Doctor rolled the word around his mouth, testing it out. Was there a meaning his brain hadn’t yet thought of?

More importantly, did he care?

No. He didn’t care.
Yes. He could do anything.
With Rose.

The ground shook. The Doctor fell against the stable as a loud rumbling rocked the land. The horses skittered, wild-eyed and frantic. He caught himself on the door and held on. Then deathly silence, a strangely eerie aftermath. He didn’t wait around to see if it happened again.

That had been no land quake.

Already running for the door, hearts pounding entirely too fast, the Doctor reached out through their burgeoning mental link for Rose. Safe. She was unharmed—panicked and scared for him, but safe.

He looked to the sky and his hearts stopped. He didn’t recognize the ships, but they were unmistakably shelling the village. What could they possibly want with the village? As a planet, Doga‘gr held no strategic importance, no great quantities of minerals or gems. Was this happening planet-wide or was it simply over the village of Dais‘gr?

First he needed to find Rose. Then he’d sort out what happened.

The Doctor raced across the stables to the main village. He scanned the area, but it appeared deserted. He reached out for Rose; she’d been in one of the houses, he didn’t remember which one.

“Rose!” he called, searching again for her blonde hair.

Rose! ” he screamed louder over the telltale whine of the ship’s guns as they prepared for another round. Mentally reached out with frantic tendrils to find her.

“Doctor!” she called.

He spun and ran for the wood behind the main houses. A large group of men, women, and children followed Rose from the shadows. She turned, said something even he couldn’t hear over the next round of bombardment, and turned back for him, already running.

“Do you know who they are?” She wrapped her arms around him, face pressed into his shoulder. Her heart beat wildly, and her breath came in short gasps, but she held tight.

“No.” The Doctor quickly ran his hands over her for any sign of injury. Breathing a sigh of relief when he found none. “Don’t know what they want, either.”

Fear churned icily in his stomach and he took precious moments they might not have to breathe her in, feel her body against his. He pulled her tight, arms wrapped around her. She was safe.

“But I’m going to find out.”

He leaned back, tangled his hands in her hair, and kissed her. It was hard and deep, and he poured everything he was and everything he felt and everything he now wanted for his future into that kiss.

As abruptly as he kissed her, the Doctor pulled back. Rose breathed heavily and when she opened her eyes, the golden-brown swirled with need and power. Most importantly, with love.

His hearts skipped again, but he stepped back.

“Stay here. Keep everyone away from the fields.” He looked behind her to where the villagers kept to the wood.

“I’m not leaving you.”

So stubborn. So beautiful. So brave. Rose terrified him.

Enchanted, embraced, captivated him, too.

“Rose.” It hurt to say her name, the one word in the whole universe that still held any meaning for him. “I need you safe.” He crushed his lips to hers. “Please.”

“Doctor, I need you safe, too,” she argued.

“I will be,” he promised. “I won’t do anything stupid.” He paused at the disbelieving look she gave him. “I promise I’ll come back to you. I’ll always come back to you.”

With one last kiss and a mental caress that made them both shudder at its intensity, the Doctor turned and raced for the TARDIS.

Sprinting up the ramp, he started the scans before he set the dematerialization sequence. He felt Rose’s displeasure—which was the politest way to put it—full on. In a burst of metal strength he hadn’t thought her capable of, he very clearly heard If your idea of keeping me safe is leaving me behind while you do stupid things, you best think again.

The Doctor stumbled at the mental onslaught. It was one thing to communicate while touching; he was a touch telepath after all. It was something entirely else for Rose, who’d been at best a low-level empath until her startling transformation not even a month ago, to suddenly have the capability of mentally communicating with him over distances.

It should’ve been unsurprising when the TARDIS door crashed open. Yet when a righteously furious Rose Tyler stormed up the ramp, the Doctor was stunned.

He never really did figure out why he was so stunned.

Really, he should’ve known better.

“If you think I’ll stay put like some good little woman,” she seethed, “think again. We’re in this together.” She paused and his hearts skipped a beat. “Or not at all.”

“Rose,” he tried, but cut himself off. “All right.” He held out his hand. “Together.”

And that was how they found themselves a thousand meters over Doga‘gr. As soon as they materialized on the alien ship, the Doctor looked at the view screen, but saw nothing.

“I need you safe,” he whispered and hoped she heard him telepathically as well.

She had. Rose squeezed his hand and the light mental caress did much to stop his stomach churning from fear.

“I can’t lose you, either,” she whispered.

He crushed her to him, felt her body mold against his, her head find its place against his shoulder, her arms wrap around his shoulders. Together.

“I’ve extended the shields,” the Doctor said and pulled back, triple checking that he had.

“The ones from the extrapolator?” she asked, fingers curling over his again, her thumb a constant soothing press over his knuckles. “I thought that was damaged from the...” she paused and swallowed. Hard.

“She’ll need to rest after this,” he said with a soft touch to the console, neatly sidestepping the unasked question. “But she’ll be fine.”

Rose nodded and without another word they exited the TARDIS. The corridor was empty. Hand in hand, the Doctor held his sonic in the other hand as they crept down the hallway.

“The bridge or command center should be up ahead,” he whispered. Then cursed his lapse.

He needn’t have made a sound, especially now that they were touching. He could’ve told her that telepathically.

Something they both needed to get used to, it seemed.

He pressed the sonic against the door panel and with a buzz, it opened. Inside a group of four male humanoids stood around the ship’s controls.

“Prisoner 35782135 you will surrender.” The order came clear across the intercom, echoing in the ship as well as onto the planet.

“Nice sound system,” the Doctor said, releasing Rose’s hand to fold his arms across his chest. He leaned casually against the door, keeping it open in case they needed to make a run for it.

Maybe that should’ve been when they needed to make a run for it.

The four humanoids, mid-size, skin like brushed silver, with excessively long hair, turned and drew their guns simultaneously. The Doctor didn’t move, but send a nudge to Rose to get ready.

“Who are you looking for?” he demanded.

“How did you get onboard?” one of the men demanded.

Rolling his eyes, the Doctor raised an eyebrow incredulously. “Magic box,” he snapped. “Now who are you looking for?”

“Prisoner 35782135.”

“And this person is…?” the Doctor waited. When no answer came, and they didn’t shoot, he asked instead, “Who are you?”

The one seated in the center chair stood. Captain probably—he did have the center seat and the longest hair, bound neatly in one long braid down his back. “We are the Interplanetary Constabulary force of Caat’ul.”

“Ah.” The Doctor nodded.

“Cops?” Rose snorted. “Look more like interplanetary thugs, bombing an innocent village before even demanding their surrender.”

The Doctor didn’t manage to suppress a grin, even with the guns still aimed at them. “I’ll ask one more time. Who are you looking for?”

“Prison—”

The Doctor glared at the man who’d spoken, not the captain, and returned that glare to the captain who watched impassively.

The captain nodded, almost imperceptivity and said, “Her name is Mar’tina di Kash of the Flavicomous River Valley.”

“How do you know she’s here?” Rose demanded.

The Doctor wondered if Rose knew this woman, but received the mental equivalent of a headshake.

“Our intel has indicated that a woman matching her description resided here,” the captain said.

Furious, the Doctor straightened. His fist tightened around his sonic, but he didn’t step forward. He’d lose any way out if he did that, and he had a feeling they were going to need it.

In a voice that was icily calm and made the youngest of them flinch, the Doctor asked, “You bombed an entire village for one woman who may or may not be there?”

“Our intelligence—” the man not the captain (and clearly too stupid to be afraid) stepped forward, but didn’t get the chance to say much. Rose was furious. The Doctor felt it vibrating through her.

It was incredibly arousing.

“What’s this woman done?” Rose interrupted.

“She’s responsible for kidnapping a royal child.” This from the captain.

The Doctor was starting to wonder if the captain really was a captain or if he needed to sit for some odd reason. Or if he just had sloppy control over his people.

“So you thought,” the Doctor said in that same deathly cold voice, “the best way to go about ensuring the return of a child is to destroy a village, kill people and their livelihood, and possibly this child as well?”

“Our orders—”

“You have one minute,” the Doctor seethed. “You have one Doga‘gr minute—nearly two Galactic Standard Minutes because I’m being generous—to power down your weapons.”

“And if we don’t?” the captain asked.

The Doctor flicked his thumb over his sonic and said with a cheery grin that did nothing to hide the anger in his voice, “I don’t like the looks of your hydroconometer. Bad thing, that. Energy feedbacks that go all the way through the retrostabilisers are bound to overheat.”

Suddenly the faint whining buzz exploded in a burst of alarms.

The Doctor grabbed Rose’s hand and rocked back, ready to run. His glaze flicked over the crew, still poised to shoot but still refraining from actually doing so. He briefly wondered why then dismissed that. It didn’t matter so long as they didn’t shoot.

“If there was one thing you shouldn’t have done,” he told the captain, “it was put innocent people in danger. I don’t like that. If you’re interested in speaking with the villagers you bombed, try to work this out, I’ll see you down there.”

He released some of the control he had on himself, some of the chains holding his anger at bay. For the first time since the conversation began, the Doctor saw a hint of fear in each of the crew’s gaze.

Good.

“If you try to bomb them again, I’ll report you myself —you, your entire planet, anyone involved with bombing innocents.” he added in case they didn’t understand his full meaning. “I won’t bother with your laws; I’ll go straight for true intergalactic law—to the Judoon and the Shadow Proclamation. Understood?”

The captain slowly nodded, his dark gaze on the Doctor’s. “Understood.”

As one, he and Rose stepped back and the door snicked closed in front of them. Her fingers were tense around his, and he didn’t need to be a telepath to know she was poised to run. But the door didn’t reopen and they weren’t faced with furious, gun wielding Caat’ul.

All in all, he considered that a success.

“Do you think they’ll land?” Rose asked as they retraced their steps back to the TARDIS. “Actually search for Mar’tina?”

“Depends.” He shrugged. “On how desperate they are to find this woman.” He unlocked the door and ushered her inside. No sense in loitering. Just in case.

“No one’s said anything about any newcomers, except us,” Rose said as he started the dematerialization process.

“Could be they have the wrong village. Or the wrong planet,” he said as he moved around the console.

“No one has a baby,” she added, pushing the buttons he told her to. She stopped and tilted her head to the side. “How long ago was this baby taken?”

Pride bloomed in him and he grinned at her. “Good question.” He pulled the dematerialization lever. “We’ll have to ask.”

Opening the door again, the Doctor held out his hand to Rose, perfectly comfortable with the changes in his life. With Rose by his side.

Domestic, perhaps, and he could accept that. But never domesticated.

Chapter Text

Rose slowly blinked awake and stretched, humming slightly as her muscles woke as well. The TARDIS brightened the bedroom lights, a slow build of light so Rose could adjust from sleeping to waking.

The Doctor believed that as she grew more accustomed to the changes done by Bad Wolf, she wouldn’t need as much sleep. That eventually, though he wasn’t sure when that eventuality was, she’d need about as much sleep as he—an hour or two a night.

Assuming they actually slept and weren’t shagging like bunnies as they tended to do every night. Then again, Rose quite liked waking in the Doctor’s arms, his own voice gruff from sleep. Of course, she just liked waking with him there; his arms tight around her, his hard body pressed to hers, his mouth against her skin.

For now, Rose woke alone, already knowing the Doctor had left their bed hours ago. She blinked sleepily in the brightening room, just light enough for her to see.

She sent a mental thank you to the beloved ship and received an answering hum of affection in return. A fresh glass of cold lemon water appeared on her bedside table. Grimacing slightly, she wasn’t overly fond of lemon water, Rose nonetheless drank down the entire glass.

“Thank you,” she said to the empty room.

The TARDIS had decided her human needed taking care of and Rose wasn’t one to argue with the TARDIS. That was the Doctor’s territory. Speaking of, where was he? Rose stretched again and debated snuggling deeper under the covers. Not today.

Today was their last day on Doga‘gr.

She climbed out of bed and reached for one of the Doctor’s work oxfords lying neatly across the bench at the foot of the bed, shrugging it on. The cool cotton—or whatever passed for cotton on this planet—settled over her shoulders and she breathed deeply of the scent. Doing up only a couple of the buttons, Rose debated knickers but decided against them.

What was the point?

She took only a few minutes for her morning ablutions before making her way along the TARDIS’s corridors. She didn’t bother with slippers; the floor was warm, warmer than usual because of the recalibration the Doctor had done after the Caat’ul attacks, and subsequent diplomatic negotiations.

The Caat’ul royal baby—still a baby and not an adult as Rose had wondered—was not on Doga‘gr. As a simple scan had revealed. The Doctor hadn’t been happy with the handling of the entire situation, but had left it to the Doga‘gr ambassadors to deal with.

Now, Rose headed directly for the kitchen and the scent of cooking pen’gr meat and co’gr eggs. She breathed deeply of the too tempting smells of breakfast and grinned.

The man making breakfast was even harder to resist. Not that Rose bothered to try.

He stood at the stove by the large windows that currently overlooked the fields of Doga‘gr. Early morning sunlight streamed in and highlighted him. Rose paused and took a minute to simply watch him as he cooked breakfast.

Maybe it was always leading to this.

The changes she’d gone through had been tough—both for her and for him. Physically as well as emotionally. Rose was under no illusion their future was smooth for the rest of their very, very long lives together. How did one make a relationship work for the length of a human life? She didn’t know, neither of her two previous relationships had lasted very long.

And now, with the addition of very nearly the forever she promised the Doctor, they had lifetimes. Lifetimes to laugh and make love. To fight and make up. Would they always travel together? Would things change between them?

Rose didn’t know and for a heartbeat it terrified her. But they had those lifetimes to work through it. To make it work. She loved him fiercely now—she doubted that love would ever fade into nothing. As Bad Wolf, she’d seen all of time and space, all of those could and would and will be and might be futures. She must have seen something in those timelines to make her think the changes worth it.

Because the way they fit, the way her heart swelled whenever the Doctor looked at her, the way he whispered her name as they made love told her the same thing.

This was meant to be. They were meant to be. The Doctor and Rose.

She breathed in a deep breath and watched him in the kitchen. The lean lines of his body, the hard muscles of his arms, the confident stance as he worked over the skillet. He possessed a grace and sensuality that attracted her, pulled her to him. An otherworldly essence that called to her.

Slipping her hands around his naked waist, she pressed her lips to his back. His skin was cool against her cheek, muscles rippling as he moved; in contrast, the denim of his jeans rubbed deliciously against her bare thighs. One hand came up to hold hers around his waist, his thumb lightly caressing her inner wrist.

She closed her eyes and breathed in the scent of him, the faint hint of the farm, the scent of his soap, and deeper, Doctor.

“Hmm,” she breathed, trailing her lips over his back. Along the deep scratches she’d made as he’d driven her higher and higher toward orgasm. Nope, she wasn’t sorry for those. “I was hoping I could convince you to join me in the shower.”

The Doctor turned, blue eyes darkening as he watched her. Simply watched her. The intensity in his gaze as it roamed over his shirt down her bare legs and up again made Rose shiver. Wet heat pooled low in her belly and she knew he smelled her arousal.

He reached behind him to flick off the stove, gaze never leaving hers. The slight twist of his body brushed her sensitive nipples and she whimpered. Breath trapped in her chest, heart pounding in anticipation, she leaned closer. His lips were cool on hers, gentle. Rose immediately opened to his kiss.

His goatee scratched her skin and she shivered. She loved how he looked with the goatee, how it scratched against her skin, its own caress along her body. With a moan, she scraped her nails through his short-cropped hair and pressed closer, wanting to devour him. Wanting to be devoured by him.

“Doctor,” she moaned, hips moving against his.

The Doctor growled, hands heavy on her hips to still her movements.

“No knickers, Rose?” he demanded, voice low and smooth, it moved through her like warm chocolate. Like pure sin. Like a promise.

Unable to respond, not that she had a response, Rose gasped. Through the rough denim of his jeans, she felt his hardness and jerked her hips against him. She tried to focus her mind, as he’d taught her these last weeks, but could only wantonly give herself over to him.

He growled again, his work-calloused hands cupping her bum, pulling her even closer. He trailed them up her belly to her breasts, fingers teasing her already aching nipples with hard tweaks, just as she liked.

Rose moaned, arched into his hands. “Doctor,” she gasped, his name a litany on her tongue. “Doctor, please,” she pleaded as one hand slipped between her legs and easily inside her.

“Rose.” The word was ground out, harsh, against her throat and she shuddered again.

His finger slid almost lazily in and out of her, teasing, tormenting, building her orgasm higher but never enough. Rose clawed at his shoulders, mouth seeking his. Her hips jerked against his touch, a silent plea even as she verbalized her begging.

“Please, Doctor,” she gasped. “More, please. Please.”

The Doctor growled again, maybe her name, maybe something else—Rose couldn’t make out the word. Without warning, he lifted her to the counter and spread her legs wide. Stepping between them, but careful not to touch her, he waited.

Breathing heavy, body aching for his, Rose opened her eyes and watched him. His own normally bright blue gaze was nearly black, and along the mental bond between them she felt the iron grip he had on his control.

She wanted him to lose that control.

Rose inhaled a shuddering breath and focused everything she was into one telepathic message. She might not have the experience he did with mental communication and she might not be a match for his discipline, but she knew her lover.

Fuck me, she told him, leaning back, palms flat on the counter. Rose opened her legs wider and grinned at him.

The Doctor growled, and she felt him lose control, a literal snap along the link. She saw it in his gaze, deepening even further with arousal and need. His hands were cool on her inner thighs, hard and calloused from working.

He pulled her forward, a quick jerk. Before Rose recovered, he plunged two fingers into her, then a third. Stretching her, building her orgasm higher. It tightened and coiled through her, hot and hard and fast.

When he pulled out as suddenly as he entered her, she whimpered. “Doctor,” she sobbed, body humming on the brink.

“You wanted me to fuck you, Rose,” he said in that same deliciously dark voice that flowed over her like the gentlest of caresses, a promise full of all the dark desires she’d ever had for him, the fantasies she hadn’t yet had the courage to share with him.

His mouth was deceptively soft as he kissed the top of her breast, licked over an already hard nipple. Then he opened his mouth wide and sucked hard, sending white-hot sparks of need like fire through her blood.

Rose dug her nails into his back, vaguely knew she’d leave more scratches along his skin. Didn’t care. Didn’t care the Doctor continued to suck hard on her breast until the overly sensitive nerves cried out for relief.

She rocked against him, uncaring of the rough denim covering his hard cock. Desperate for him to fill her. For the orgasm just out of her reach.

“Please,” she said again. Sobbed the word over and over as she continued to arch into his touch, rock against him.

Head thrown back, she had a hazy picture of herself—wild and wanton and flushed pink. Spread open for him—wet with desire and climbing the barrier she’d often fantasized about but had never been brave enough to admit to.

This wasn’t pain for the sake of pain. This was pleasure and it burned through her, fire and heat and throbbing need. The Doctor’s mouth on her skin, his hands holding her hips still until she knew she’d have bruises. It didn’t matter. All that mattered was this new sensation of pain giving her pleasure.

Because it was the Doctor. Only the Doctor.

“Not yet,” he breathed against her mouth. “Not yet, Rose. Don’t come yet.”

Her breast ached, her swollen nipple pulsed to the frantic beat of her heart. Rose shook her head, agreeing or begging, or what, she wasn’t sure.

“Need to,” she said. Or maybe she merely thought it. “Please, Doctor.”

She wanted to unbutton his jeans and feel his hardness against her hand. Guide him into her. Rose barely had the presence of mind to hold onto his shoulders, open her mouth to his dominance. Surrender.

And it felt glorious.

His hands tightened on her hips, and Rose forced her eyes to open. She wanted to see him. He’d pulled back, breathing heavily, and watched her. Studied her as if they hadn’t been traveling for over a year and he hadn’t spent the last six weeks exploring her body.

“Rose.”

A simple name, said with more meaning than she’d ever be able to explain to another. His hands left her hips, finally, finally, unbuttoning his jeans. Rose didn’t move, though she wanted to. Somehow, she understood she was to stay there, right on the kitchen counter, open and wet and absolutely begging for him.

With one hard thrust he entered her. Rose cried out as her orgasm slammed into her, taking her over the edge in wave after crashing wave. She came hard around him, fingers pressed into his arms, teeth sinking into his shoulder.

Then he moved. His rhythm was hard, each stroke deep into her, and fast. Rose knew that control he so prized strained like a rubber band, thinner and thinner.

Lifting her head, hips meeting his, she cupped his face with her hands and kissed him hard. “Come for me,” she begged.

He moved harder, faster, hips slamming into hers and she relished every touch, every thrust, every inch of their joining. Her own orgasm built, a tight coil, suppliant need. Her own fingers found her nub and with only a couple light strokes, she cried out his name, once more coming hard.

“Rose,” he growled, still moving—faster now, faster and harder than she imagined a human capable of. “Rose.”

Then his control shattered and he came, his seed cool against her hot walls, his head thrown back, mouth open as he emptied himself into her.

When Rose opened her eyes, they lay on the floor. She had no idea how they got there and didn’t much care. Her head rested against his chest where his hearts beat their normal rhythm in time to the racing of her blood. Boneless, utterly sated, she raised her head.

“Can we do more of that?” she asked, voice hoarse, throat raw.

“Kitchen sex?” he asked and raised his head, that little smirk playing around his full lips.

Unable to resist, she leaned up on arms that barely held her and kissed him. A soft press to his lips. His hands settled more firmly on her bum, shifting her fully atop him. Rose felt him stir against her and slowly rolled her hips against him.

“Yes,” she admitted with a sultry laugh. “That, too. But the...um...the...” Rose trailed off and blushed, uncertain how to put what she wanted into words.

She may have hid nothing from him, but this, these dark sexual fantasies, she’d hid from even herself. Rose wondered if he knew that. But he’d always been so careful not to intrude even when she’d flung every door to her mind, body, and soul open to him.

“You never have to be ashamed of anything with me,” he whispered. One large hand cupped her cheek, his thumb sweeping a soft arch over her skin.

“I liked it,” she admitted. “Everything you did. The...” she licked her lips. “The waiting and listening to you. Not coming until you said.”

His eyes darkened, flashed with fire and need and hunger. Even though Rose knew her body couldn’t possibly be ready again, a sharp bolt of arousal flooded her.

“Oh, yes,” he agreed. The tips of his fingers traced up her spine and she arched into his touch. “We can do that as often as you like.”

The erotic promise in his voice sent shivers of need through her and Rose was stunned to find her hips thrusting against his. Blushing furiously, she pulled back, ducked her head. Oh, God, what had come over her?

“Rose.” He stopped her with a simple word, his hands motionless on her back, but not holding her still.

Face heating further, Rose lifted her eyes to his. Though the blue burned with arousal and all the sexual promises she could ever desire, there was a gentleness in them, too, that moved heavily through her heart.

Rose blinked and straightened. No, she needn’t be embarrassed with him. Over anything. Ever.

“Anything you want,” he promised. “It’s yours.”

He wasn’t simply talking about sexual experimentation. Rose blinked and tears blurred her vision. She hastily blinked them away.

“I love you,” she admitted, unable not to say the words. Even if he couldn’t yet return them, even if he was never ready to voice those specific words, she did know how he felt.

And when his hand tangled in her hair and his lips crushed to hers, she felt that love clean through her.

“Rose Tyler,” he whispered against her lips.

It was as good an admission as if he’d said the words.

Then again, that admission was deceptively simple compared to what she felt for him.

Pulling back, she laid her head on his chest once more. “I’m starving,” she admitted and kissed the spot of skin closest to her lips. “But breakfast will wait, yeah?”

He tucked her head comfortably into the hollow of his shoulder and tightened his arms around her. “Breakfast will wait forever,” he promised.

And though there were no words to follow that, Rose very clearly felt his own promise of forever—in the beat of his hearts, in the tightening of his arms, in the kiss atop her head. And along the link they now shared.

Forever.