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He took a deep breath. He warily dropped his mental barrier and called out to her.

He had tried to find a hole large enough to send the TARDIS through, but this one had been the only he could locate. It was only big enough for a transmission. Further, there was a great deal of interference, given the void. The amount of energy required to stabilize the signal was massive. It had taken another several weeks just to calibrate everything. He had checked and re-checked. He had to get this right.

This was his last chance. And now it was all down to an uncertain telepathic link.

He had to hope she'd understand him, believe in him.

Then, he thought he felt a flutter of response, a sort of "I'm coming!" Holding his breath, he waited. Eventually, even with a respiratory bypass, he had to let the air out of his lungs.

He kept calling, and occasionally received a of tickle of response. Each time she felt clearer. But he couldn't tell if it was simply that she was closer, or that she had gotten better at replying. It took far longer than he'd expected, but after a while he got a kind of sense that she'd found the place. She was certain, believed he must be nearby. He had been brooding in the library. But now he  hurried and expeditiously input the information into the holo-projection he'd written. He pressed execute.

The lights that the TARDIS used to form the image flickered a few times. Then it solidified into what appeared to be a beach. But any thought he had of the surroundings disappeared, as Rose stepped into view. She looked tired, rumpled and windswept. She was even more beautiful than he remembered.

"Where are you?" she asked, sounding desperate. He tried not to hang too much expectation on that.

"Inside the TARDIS," he replied. Techno-babble he could do. "There's one tiny little gap in the Universe left, just about to close, and it takes a lot of power to send this projection. I'm in orbit around a supernova. I'm burning up a sun just to get a message through."

Rose squinted at him. "You look like a ghost."

Oh, minor miscalibration. "Hold on," he told her, and fixed it with the sonic screwdriver.

"Can I..." Rose began, reaching towards him. His hearts broke. He wanted nothing more than to take her in his arms. Or even just hold her hand.

"I'm just an image," he informed her wistfully, "no touch."

"Can't you come through properly?" she asked.

"I tried," he confessed. Her eyes widened. Maybe she hadn't meant it. "The whole thing would fracture. Two universes would collapse."

"So?" Rose half-laughed. He couldn't tell her how close he'd come to ending both their lives in his reckless need to see her again. She wasn't that selfish, even if sometimes he was.

So instead he looked around at the beach. "Where are we? Where did the gap come out?"

"We're in Norway," she supplied.

"Norway. Right." Now that he considered it, the rock formations did look rather Norwegian.

“About fifty miles out of Burgen,” she continued. Blimey, no wonder it had taken so long for her to get there. “It's called Dårlig Ulv Stranden.”

“Dalek?” The word shot fear through him. If a dalek had gotten through to her world...

But she was shaking her head. “ Dårlig,” she enunciated. “It's Norwegian for bad. It translates as Bad Wolf Bay.” That was actually the best news he'd had in a while. He smiled at her.

“That Bad Wolf,” he said, with affection. “She has a habit of looking out for me.”

She blushed slightly. Or he thought she did. It might have been the cold wind on her cheeks.

“Am I ever going to see you again?” She sounded on the edge of tears. God, he could only hope she genuinely wanted to see him again.

“Well, Rose Tyler,” he answered cautiously, “That's up to you.”

“What do you mean?” she asked, crinkling her brow. “What do I have to do? Tell me and I'll do it.”

His chest filled with hope, and his hearts thudded.

“I can't come through, but there could be a way... I could send someone else. Weeelllll, another me. Two TARDISes working together could create a safe pocket. It might allow one to cross the void without causing a catastrophic breach. Maybe. It would strictly be a one time trip, though. It would already be bending the laws of time. You'd never be able to go back.”

She was nodding and crying.

“It's alright Rose,” he reassured her in a low voice. “You don't have to do it.”

“I want to!” she protested, looking up at him. He thought he detected a glint of patent Rose-Tyler-stubbornness in her eye.

“I'd understand Rose,” he said, voice still quiet, even though his guts ached. “If you tell me you don't want to come back.”

“I told you, I've said it a million times. I never want to leave you. And you promised me!” she looked angry now, but her anger burned the doubt out of him, filling him with cold relief in it's wake. “You promised you'd never leave me behind!”

“And I won't,” he said decisively.

“See that you don't,” she still sounded cross, but there was a hint of a smile on her face.

“I don't know how long it will take to set up,” he informed her. “I don't even know what version of myself I'll send through. Crossing time-lines and creating causality loops is a delicate process.”

“I'll wait,” she said adamantly.

“You can change your mind,” he knew he was only borrowing trouble, but couldn't seem to help himself. It was as if there was a part of him that was incapable of believing she would leave everything behind. Just to be with him. “If he gets there, and you want to stay, that's fine.”

“I'm not going to change my mind.”

“If you do though–” he started.

“Doctor,” she interrupted, “How long has it been for you? Since Canary Wharf?”

Too long, was the answer. Much of it had been spent in the vortex, outside of normal time. He'd needed everything perfectly calculated. He hadn't wanted to chance missing this final opening between their worlds. In linear time, he was 26 hours, 7 minutes, and 52 seconds from the moment she'd fallen. In his personal timeline it had been 4,921 hours 1 minute, 6 seconds.

“It's been six months for me,” she informed him when he didn't answer right away. “Do you know what I've been doing? I've been working for this universe's version of Torchwood. On a project to cross between dimensions.” She paused for a moment, as if to let that information sink in. “That's right, I've been trying to get back to you. I've been trying to get home!” –his hearts clenched again, this time at the idea that she might consider him home– “So, stop trying to get rid of me. Come get me, if you can. If not, I'm coming to you!”

“Rose Tyler,” he said fondly, “Defender of the Earth. I could never be willingly rid of you. I don't know when it will be. It does sound as if our time-lines are synchronous, even across the void. I'll work as fast as I can.”

“You better,” she nodded.

He laughed, for the first time since her hands had slipped from the leaver. Then he felt a nudging reminder from the TARDIS.

“Our time is almost up,” he told her.

“I can't think what to say!” she exclaimed.

“How's...” he hesitated to refer to Jackie, Pete and Mickey as her family. He didn't like what that implied about Mickey, and wasn't sure about Pete.

But she seemed to know what he was thinking. “There's five of us now,” she said. “Mum, Dad, Mickey, and the baby. So Mum won't be alone when I leave.”

“The baby?” He asked incredulous, fear filling him. If she was... “You're not...?”

“No!” she smiled a bit, as if questioning his sanity. “It's Mum, she's three months gone. More Tylers on the way.”

“That's...” –a relief was what it was– “Great,” he finished, lamely.

“So. Now what?” she asked.

“Now I do a lot of maths. Make some trans-temporal telephone calls.”

She laughed and the sound warmed him. “You said it could be a bit. Promise me something, Doctor. Find someone... to travel with. You're rubbish on your own.”

“Quite right,” he said. “That's why I need...” and in that moment, the signal cut off, leaving him standing alone in the TARDIS, once more.

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The Doctor was lying on his back, leather coat off. He was trying to hook the battery source into the temporal navigation system. Then he heard the sound of a key in the lock, and the door creaking open. The TARDIS hummed a joyful welcome. Wait, what?

“Doctor!” Hang on, he knew that voice. “Doctor? Are you here? Blimey it's dark.”

He was on his feet by the time she'd finished speaking, staring at her in confusion. His future incarnation had called him, and wheedled him into this incredibly dangerous mission: crossing a parallel universe to rescue some future companion. In reality, he'd agreed after a minimum of protest. It wasn't the risk to himself he'd objected to, so much as the strain on the TARDIS.

He had, in fact, spent the last several months hopping from one fixed point in time to another. He'd been heedless of the possible damage to time-lines. The birth of the war lord Clag on Yxafzvatxz Prime. The explosion of Krakatoa. The burning of the Library of Alexandria (the planet, not the city). The launching of the Titanic. The evacuation of the final colony of the Angels. The death of President Kennedy. It caused a jangle in his time-senses, and drowned out the echo of screaming in his telepathy centers. But nothing seemed to wipe away the memory of a certain blonde haired human. He was desperate for the distraction.

His future-self had talked him through a procedure to store power outside of the TARDIS core. This would supposedly preserve her health, through landing in the secondary universe. And again through re-entry into the prime one. He had sent him a series of coordinates to a bubble. His future-self said it would allow for a safe cross to the other universe. Destination? Earth, London, early 21st century, of course. Where else?

So he said he'd go along with it. But the communication had been cut off during his future self's explanation. He hadn't gotten to saying exactly who he was retrieving. His older incarnation had encountered some oddity. All the Doctor had heard, was someone screeching in the background about kidnapping. His alternate's side of the conversation had devolved into yells of “What?” Then the man had said he would “ring back, later.” 

But he wasn't feeling patient. So he had crossed the void and assumed he would be able to trace down the companion once there.

It seemed that said companion had found him, however. And she was not at all who he'd expected.

She'd said no when he'd asked her to come with him. The last he'd seen her was in an alley with her stupid ape of a boyfriend clinging to her knees. His hearts did a few, very surprising, somersaults at the sight of her.

“Rose?” he asked, meeting her eyes across dimly lit control room. Yes, this was definitely her. She was about five years older, chronologically, than the girl he'd left in the alley. If he was reading the time-lines right. And he was. He was always right. But here she was, standing just inside the door, wearing a yellow sundress, and staring back at him.

“Oh,” she breathed. Oh? What did that mean? Wait, why did he even care? “It's you.”

It's you? Of course it was him. But, did she know it was the same him? Had his new self explained regeneration?

The surprise seemed to wear off with alacrity. “Hello!” she said, smiling, as if glad to see him. Well, there was at least that. He tamped down the mad bubble of satisfaction that she seemed to at least like him.

“He – I mean, you – said you'd be sending a different you. I just didn't expect it to be one I'd recognize.”

Well, that answered that question. Her difficulty with pronouns indicated she knew about regeneration. She must have gone with him before this last one and stayed through it. Or had sufficiently believed his new self. Less likely.

A spark of alarm crossed her face, and she took the tiniest of steps backwards. Without intending it, he crossed the room and grabbed her arm. Somehow thinking to catch her before she left, though she didn't turn toward the door. He didn't want to analyze the desire that was desperate to keep her nearby.

“'M I on board?” she asked him. “Don't want to invite any reapers, yeah?”

But he was distracted from this very interesting question. Distracted by something that ought to be impossible. Through his grip on her elbow, where he'd caught her on impulse, he could feel her mind. He could feel it so clearly, too clearly for the simple touch of hand on arm. And by all the Gods, it was beautiful. It pulsed gold against his. It throbbed seductive along an impossible, but unmistakable, bond. In the future, some time in the next five years, in fact, he would bond with a human. This human, to be precise.

“You're not here.” How he managed the words with any semblance of  coherence was a mystery.

“Oh.”

They stared at each other for a few moments, neither willing to break away. She wet her lips and he followed the movement of her tongue with fascination.

“So, I'm at Mum's, then?” she prompted, somewhat nervously. “This you never liked to stick around for those visits.”

This him. Ah, so she had started traveling with him before he regenerated. That meant she'd stayed with him after he changed. Of course she did. She was his bond-mate.

The connection was still distinct between them. Oh! He was still holding her arm. He dropped his hand, doing his best not to wince from the loss of contact, but unable to take his eyes off her. His bond-mate.

Something primal drew him to her. For his part, he'd known her for less than a day. But from the moment he'd seen her in that shop basement, he had known she was special. Her time-line had numerous branches that intertwined with his own. He'd been disappointed when she'd turned down his offer of traveling with him.

But this, this was something else. A bond made her his, in an atavistic way. There was a reason Rassilon did away with the practice of bonding for love. Her mind would sing to his across regeneration, transcending time itself. Just seeing her, he'd felt the pull of her skin. Even without the touch that had alerted him to their connection. Now, he craved her lips and the golden warmth of her mind. He wanted to take her to bed, bury himself in her, and never leave.

But he couldn't keep her. She was five years in his future, and no wonder his other self wanted her back so badly. He was probably going insane with longing.

He realized that he'd been just staring at her stupidly when she raised an eyebrow in question. She'd asked him something, but he'd completely forgotten it. So he just covered his blunder with talk. Always could talk, him.

“Getting here was a bit of a trick! TARDIS slipped right through the walls in the universe, like she knew right where and when to go. But there's not much power, right now. I've got her hooked up on a recharging cycle, which is why there's only emergency lighting.”

“Makes sense,” Rose nodded. “Last time she was here it took her about a day to be ready again. Does that mean I have time to run and say bye to Mum, and Dad, and Mickey?”

He quelled the feeling of jealousy at the last of these names. Wasn't Mickey that boyfriend the Nestene Consciousness had captured? The one that had prevented her from leaving with him? What was he doing here? And her parents? How were they here? He'd not thought she even had a father. Were she and this Mickey... his mind rebelled at finishing that thought. She was his bond-mate.

Rassilon. His bond-mate.

She must have mistook his alarmed expression, because she chuckled.

“You don't have to come with!” she said, placatingly. “I wouldn't even ask. I know how much you hate domestics.” She emphasized this last word with a sort of fond teasing. The kind of someone who had long endured another's foibles. Endured them so long that it had become a private joke, and a term of endearment.

She was out of her mind though, if she thought he was leaving her side for one moment. Even for something as domestic as goodbyes.

“I'll go with you,” he said, and watched her mouth drop open in astonishment.

“Really?”

“Yes.” He grabbed his jacket off the jump seat and shrugged into it. He didn't missing the interested way she observed the movement. He tucked his sonic screwdriver into a pocket.

“Lead the way, Rose Tyler.”

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As they exited the TARDIS he found himself reaching for her hand, as if by rote memory. It even felt familiar to twine his fingers with hers, the bond singing between them. He could feel she was giddy, nervous, impatient, all at once. She pulled him down the pavement towards a parked car and unlocked the passenger door for him. Then he had to let go of her. But after she got in, started the engine and put it in gear, she grabbed his hand again. He couldn't stop the happy hum that rose up in him. She smiled back.

“The last time the TARDIS was here, she crashed in that exact spot,” she informed him. Maybe she was picking up on the questions bumbling around in his mind. He was beginning to think more clearly, having gotten somewhat used to her touch. “I drive by this way to and from work, and at least once on the weekends. Today, here you were! I'm amazed I actually managed to parallel park and turn off the engine.”

He chuckled at that but was squinting out the window at the absurd number of zeppelins.

“Airship travel isn't that efficient. What made them go that way above fixed-wing, heavier-than-air flight?

“Something about air currents. I guess the wind is different? To be honest, I've not been that bothered. I'm only interested in leaving.”

“How did I manage to leave you behind, anyhow? I can't imagine taking off without you, under any circumstances.” He could tell that his statement pleased her, but the sentiment was tinged with irony.

“You go off without me plenty of times, you great pillock.” He caught an image of horse and a mirror. And the echo of the taste of a beef slush-puppy, of all things. But she was laughing, so she must not be so upset. She must have known what he meant, because next she was asking, “Hang on, am I even allowed to tell you? Doesn't it create a paradox, if you know how I'm going to get stuck here? Because then you'd be able to prevent it.”

“You're absolutely right,” he answered, rather proud of her cleverness. “But I'm going to have to suppress these memories, anyway. Too much future knowledge already.” He squeezed her hand at this, indicating the existence of their bond.

She just shrugged, and launched into the story.

She was not a skilled telepath by any measurement, but she was a surprisingly powerful one. As she gave him an abbreviated version of events,  he caught snippets of memories, partial images and emotions. She was so brave and so strong. She had stood up to an entire army of Daleks and Cybermen. She had meant to leave behind her family, just to spend her life with him. She had struggled with the mechanism to keep the void open. Despite knowing that she might fall into it herself. Had worked every day since arriving on a project far above her education level. To get home. To him. It stunned him, humbled him. He didn't deserve this woman, but it was easy to see how he would fall in love with her, would want to bond with her.

The story was a long one, but wherever Rose was taking them was far outside of London-proper. Eventually she pulled up to the guard house of what looked to be a large, wooded park. She spoke cheerfully, if briefly, to the man standing there. Then drove through the gate, and up the long, winding carriage way to the front of a large manor house.

Rose's mother must have received word of their arrival with impressive dispatch. He had hardly emerged from the car when she barged out of the building and came to a stop before him. She had a look on her face that would give the oncoming storm a run for it's money.

“So you're here, are you?” she snapped, arms akimbo.

“Yes! It's me. Hello!” He tried his most winsome grin. She didn't soften.

“Come to take my little girl away! Again!” She turned to Rose. “What's with leather and big ears, then? I thought you said he couldn't change back?”

“He didn't, Mum. Time travel, remember? This is him before he regenerated. Remember I said it would be a different Doctor?”

Jackie just huffed and swept towards the house. The Doctor snagged Rose's hand as they followed.

The Doctor could only remember having seen Jackie Tyler in a fluffy pink dressing gown while she slyly propositioned him. Today she was in a pair of tailored cream trousers and a light blue silk blouse, hair and makeup subdued. She walked through the house's entry way, and into a large sitting room, as if she were a queen. The room was finely appointed with what were clearly expensive furnishings. In the middle of the floor, surrounded by the tumble of towers, and piles of blocks, was a blonde little boy. He bore a striking resemblance to Rose. His head shot up as they walked in and his face lit up.

“Wose!” he cried, and scrambled clumsily over his toys to reach her. He threw himself into her arms and she had to drop the Doctor's hand to catch him. The sight of Rose with a wiggling child in her arms stirred something within him, but he ignored it.

“Tony,” Rose was saying to the child, “This is the Doctor. Remember how I told you about him?”

“Awdis!” Tony exclaimed.

“Yep!” the Doctor replied. “I came in the TARDIS. You're clever, aren't you? Runs in the family.”

A ginger man with thinning hair stepped forward to relieve Rose of Tony, and looked at the Doctor with appraising eyes.

“They told me you could change your face. Not sure I believed it until now.”

The Doctor was saved from having to make a reply when the front door flew open behind them and someone ran in.

“I didn't miss you!”

It was Mickey, the boyfriend who'd clung to her legs and kept her from leaving in the TARDIS. The Doctor barely suppressed an urge to move and stand in front of Rose. It was an absurd impulse, especially given that Mickey came to a stop next to Jackie. But Rose seemed to illicit bizarre, unexpectedly animalistic needs within him.

“When are you leaving?” Jackie asked in a glum tone.

The Doctor opened his mouth to answer, but Rose beat him to it. “Tonight. It's a small window.” In fact they wouldn't be able to leave for some hours, and could delay for days if they wished, but Rose shot him a look and he refrained from correcting her.

“Oh Rose!” Jackie cried, tearing up and clutching her daughter into a hug.

“I know, Mum. But we knew this was happening, eventually. And it's better this way, yeah? We got to spend three years together.”

“I know,” Jackie sniffed. “But you're my baby. I love you.”

“Love you too, Mum.” Rose's eyes were suspiciously shiny, but she remained relatively stoic. She pulled away from her mother and approached Pete and her little brother.

“Plus you'll have Dad and Tony, yeah?” she soothed. “You'll take care of her, won't you?” she prompted Pete.

“Of course.” Her parallel father nodded as she kissed little Tony. “And we'll tell him all about his brave older sister.”

Rose's lip quivered a little at this, but she drew in a sharp breath and turned to face Mickey.

“Bye Micks,” she said, hugging him.

“Bye Babe,” he said softly. The Doctor's spine straightened involuntarily at the moniker.

She turned back to Pete. “I'll leave the car parked, and you can have someone pick it up in a few days. We'll do everything else like we said, yeah?” Pete nodded.

Rose looked at the Doctor, and it was obvious to him that she was barely keeping it together.

“Ready to go?” he asked, gently.

“Yes,” she said, and walked past him out of the house, not looking back.

Before he could follow, Jackie stepped forward to stop him, “Doctor, you promised me once you would always take care of her.”

“I haven't–” he started, because he hadn't yet, but she cut him off.

“I know it's you in the future she going off to live with, but you'll remember this then, won't you, if I tell you now?”

Jackie Tyler was a bit more adroit than he might have recognized. He just nodded.

“Well, I expect you to keep that promise. You treat her right and you keep her safe. I know how much you love her, and I know how much she loves you, but if she gets hurt, nothing will stop me from breaking across that void and slapping you until you don't regenerate.”

“I promise,” he said. Because in that moment, he believed her.

“Goodbye, Doctor,” Jackie said, sounding as if she'd decided something.

“Good luck, Boss,” Mickey called from behind her.

He walked quickly to the car. Rose was already waiting in the driver's seat, tears coursing down her cheeks.

“Want me to drive?” he offered in a soft tone.

She just shook her head and started the drive back.

After several minutes of silence, she cleared her throat. “Thanks for that,” she said.

“Course,” he replied. What kind of ogre wouldn't let her say goodbye to her family. Especially one she'd never see again?

“No, I mean, letting me tell them we're leaving immediately,” she explained. “Otherwise, Mum would have wanted this whole dinner and made me spend the night. It just would have dragged it out.”

He understood. He hated to say goodbye. That's why, so often, he would just sneak off after saving the day. It was easier than being fawned and cried over.

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It was past dark by the time Rose reparked the car, locking the keys in the trunk. In the back seat was a small packed bag which she snagged and carried with her to the TARDIS.

 

The lights had brightened in the control room, and when the Doctor checked the readings he found that the recharging cycle was almost complete.

 

He turned to her. “It looks like it might be another two hours, at most. Want a cuppa?” She nodded and he grabbed her hand to lead her down the corridor. He barely suppressed a shiver at having her alone, even for a short time.

 

It was odd, having these feelings. They might as well be future echos. But at the same time, weren't.

 

Only a few steps later he felt a thrill across the bond. It was a sharp pang of arousal and attraction jolting from her side to his. Touching her, so often, over the past few hours had stretched his self control. Feeling her desire for him snapped it completely.

 

In a breath she was pressed against the wall, one hand still twined in his. His other hand cupped the back of her skull, tilting her face up towards his. For a fraction of a second he saw her eyes, glazed by want, and then he was kissing her.

 

It was as divine as he had imagined, but her mouth, her tongue, were so hot he felt scorched. She moaned and arched, and tried to slip her free hand up the front of his jumper. Too hot. Too fast. Gasping, he pulled away and found a door directly beside her. Pushing it open, he pulled her into his spartan bedroom, blessing his ship.

 

Stopping beside the large bed, he began the difficult task of undressing them without breaking skin to skin contact. Not touching was a cold and barren, arctic wasteland, whereas their bond was like basking besides a roaring hot fire on a steamy summer night. When had he suddenly become a poet?

 

First, he kissed her again, and pulled the dress straps off her shoulders, letting the garment pool around her feet. She slipped her hands under his jumper and vest, and he took the moment of contact to rip both over his head. She purred at that, and ran her hands up his back to cup his shoulders. He seized her by the hips and laid her down on the bed, kneeling between her legs and leaning over to kiss her deeply.

 

She brought her hands down over his chest and to the plains of his stomach. When he sucked a sharp breath at that, she arched up towards him and ran her hands back up over his pectoral muscles, nails scratching lightly over his nipples. He growled and ripped her bra down unceremoniously to allow him to latch his lips to one perfect breast.

 

She cried out, and struggled with the clasp of his trousers for a moment, and then grunted in triumph when she succeeded in slipping her hand in and down the front of his pants to grasp him.

 

He saw white at the touch of her soft, hot little hand, and snatched her knickers off her, tearing them in the process. He sank one finger into her. She was so wet. He kissed her temple and added a second finger as his mind connected fully with hers for the first time.

 

He felt her astonishment through the bond and his own emotions. But at the same time he could feel how she felt to be penetrated by his large fingers.

 

He withdrew his fingers and sucked them clean. The taste was heavenly, and he considered diving between her legs for more. But he could feel her want for him mounting, and in her impatience she was reaching between them, lining his cock up with her opening. He grasped her hips, and then mind, soul, and body he was inside her, and they were one.

 

There were no words for this bliss, this chaos of sensation and emotion. He could feel her pleasure, centered around her pelvis, coil tighter and tighter as her pussy stretched to accommodate him. She could feel how her insides gripped him like hot, wet velvet. He thrust once, and she hitched her hips slightly higher, trying to get him deeper, to get him to rub right... there. In response, he wrapped one of her legs around his waist and steadied the other on the bed, pulling her a little wider, angling her just so, and he knew the name of that nerve cluster, but he was too far gone to think of it. The pleasure grew sharper, stronger, and she began to tense and shake slightly. Her gasps turning to cries, turning to screams as her climax seemed to break out of her and spread throughout her body, leaving tingling nerve endings in its wake.

 

Her muscles were spasming around him, and he could feel everything she felt, feel how hard he was, how thick inside her. He could feel her echo his own pleasure back at him and all at once she was coming again, and so was he. He roared as his first ejaculation spilled into her, almost cool against her burning insides.

 

In the frenzy of his primary orgasm, all he wanted was to mark her as his. For all eternity to see. So he pulled out, and without breaking contact with her, flipped her over, positioning her arse in the air and her cheek flat on the bed.

 

He felt a flash of surprise from her as he thrust inside her again, still hard as steel. As if she didn't know to expect his second orgasm and it's accompanying ferocity. But he was too far gone.

 

One hand held her hips still as he pounded into her, the other fisted into her hair as he bent over her back, mouth to her ear. He murmured to her in Gallifreyan, using possessive tenses he had never before uttered aloud, ones referring to the whole of time, to eternity beyond time, to the spiritual timelessness of the soul.

 

The closest he could have translated, had he the coherence to do so, would have been “mine, mine, mine.” But he meant more. So much more.

 

The angle was perfect for her, legs together, chest down. The head of his shaft was ramming repeatedly into an area inside her she was certain she had never before known existed, deeper and more sensitive than anything she had ever experienced. And he had never known such pleasure, couldn't have imagined such a thing might exist. She came again, hard, and he came too, filling her with a second rush of seed, as he bit down on her shoulder.

 

Feeling her limbs begin to give out, and knowing he'd be unable to support himself a moment longer, he wrapped an arm around her waist and carefully lowered both of them down on the bed onto their sides. They panted, trying to catch their breath.

 

He pulled her closer, flush against his chest, softening member still inside her, and they lay together for several perfect moments of afterglow.

 

Gradually, he became aware that they were both sticky, and slick with sweat. And while they were still over-warm from exhaustion, they would rapidly cool. Reluctantly he slipped out of her, both of them groaning with the loss and disentangled arms and mind from her. He stepped into the ensuite to fetch a flannel and returned to where she lay boneless on the bed. He carefully wiped her swollen flesh free of sweat and semen, and pulled the covers over her, before climbing under them himself, and reached for her again.

 

“Doctor?” she began, croaking slightly, throat raw from screaming. For the first time, he realized that she hadn't spoken a word since before he'd kissed her.

 

“Yes, Love?” he felt a spark of something from her at the appellation, but didn't quite understand it.

 

“What... what was that?”

 

“That was... fantastic,” he laughed, and he felt an affectionate annoyance wash through her.

 

“I meant,” she rolled over to face him “what brought that on? We... you've... I mean, I'm not complaining or anythin', it's just...”

 

He raised his eyebrows at her, not following.

 

“Doctor, we've never done that before. I don't know if I should be telling you this, but we traveled together for a year with you in this body, and another after. And not once have we ever... I mean, when exactly is this for you?”

 

Now he was decidedly confused. She wasn't making any sense.

 

“Rose... that's not possible.”

 

“Yes it is. Unless you're from another alternate universe where you and I shag like bunnies. – Wait you are from my home universe, right? Because you said... will say... that in all the universes there is only one you... Blimey, now I've got a headache.”

 

“No,” he chuckled. “When I say that to you, I'll be telling you the truth. I'm not from another universe. Just one me. Time Lords only existed in the primary universe.”

 

She seemed slightly relieved at this, but still very confused.

 

“So... I still don't understand. You and I have had sex before? When? Why don't I remember?”

 

“Well, that I don't know. I flatter myself you wouldn't forget... Wait, you say I regenerate a year after you start traveling with me?”

 

“Yeah. I'm allowed to tell you that?”

 

“Well, you might as well. Too late now, any how. Do I regenerate into someone really old, or I don't know, fat? Or ugly? Well,” he gestured at his face “even more ugly? Some of my previous selves have had some pretty questionable fashion sense.”

 

“I think this face is handsome,” she soothed, which made him grin in flattered surprise. “And the next you, well... you're actually rather nice looking.”

 

So it wasn't that she wasn't attracted to him in his next body, and they'd just proved that she was very attracted to his current one.

 

“Did we just bond, right before we were separated?”

 

“What?” Her confusion was so complete, her inability to understand any portion of what he was asking, made him realize the situation was far more complex than he'd thought. He sat up, drawing her into a sitting position beside him, tucking the blanket around her to keep her warm. But he kept his arm around her so the bond would stay active and his hand free in case he needed to go into her mind.

 

“Rose, I don't know how this could have happened without you knowing or understanding, but we're bonded.”

 

“What's that, like married?” she squeaked the question, but her alarm was tinted by something like hope.

 

“A bit, yeah. I guess that's sort of the closest thing you'd know, but this is more.. mental... and permanent.”

 

“So, we're Time Lord married? And I didn't even know?” There was a flash of anger, but she didn't pull away from him.

 

“That's the part that doesn't make any sense. It's not possible for two people to be bonded this deeply without the consent of both parties, and you wouldn't be able to consent if you didn't know exactly what you were consenting to. Even then, it shouldn't be possible.”

 

“Because I'm human?”

 

“Not just that, it takes a remarkable set of circumstances that I don't think exist any more.” He was filled with anger and grief, but somehow having her next to him created a buffer against the memories.

 

“Well, you and I don't seem to know the meaning of the word 'impossible,'” she mused, stroking his arm comfortingly. “So, in the future, you and I get married, but then we forget for some reason?”

 

“No, that can't be right, either. Because the moment I touched you, today, I felt it. Even if I were bonded to you in the future, but forgot, I'd still feel the bond as soon as I held your hand.”

 

“Maybe you're just not that into me.” There was a sadness to the suggestion, as if he were rejecting her, even in this moment, post-coital bliss and all.

 

“Rose, Love... No.” He turned a bit to face her more fully, and she met his eyes. He willed her to feel the depth of his feelings for her. He had known her, now, only two days, but he had already begun to fall for her. He imagined how deeply his future self must love her.

 

That is what I meant earlier, when I said it's not possible we've never made love before. Not because... listen, bonds like this are very complicated, and I don't fully understand them, because by my time they virtually forgotten among Time Lords. Practically frowned on as romantic nonsense. But in any incarnation, I'd be immediately drawn to you. Was drawn to you, when I first saw you, even. If a former body of mine, a man who'd never met you, were to take your hand, he'd as much trouble as I did today keeping his hands off you. The only thing I can think is that you're pretty clear with me that you don't want me, after the bond.”

 

“Oh god, it's definitely not that.”

 

“Then I don't know what to tell you, Love. I could check your memories, if you like, try and figure out when and how it happened, and why you don't remember.”

 

She thought for a moment. “No... um... I'd really rather just ask you... I mean him, when we find him.”

 

“Fair enough,. I think I have a few questions for myself, as well.” She laughed at this lame joke and he grinned back at her. His eyes drifted to her lips, but he suppressed the urge to kiss her. She surprised him however, by leaning up and pecking him. Then she sighed contentedly and nestling her head on his shoulder. He wrapped his arm tighter around her.

 

“Doctor?” This time he only felt idle curiosity from her.

 

“Yes, Love?” He was happy to answer any questions she had. He desperately wanted to never let her go.

 

“Um... Do you always... I mean. Is it a Time Lord thing to, uh... come twice?”

 

“Oh! Yes. Gallifreyan physiology generally included dual ejaculations. Time Lords are no exception.”

 

“So... every time?” She seemed positively gleeful at the idea.

 

He chuckled, “Yep.”

 

There was a sudden stillness to her. “I hope he wants me.”

 

“Rose, I know he does. You're... it's as if you were made for me. Maybe it's because human's aren't telepathic as a rule, and that's why you don't know, but are minds fit together perfectly, like pieces of a puzzle.”

 

“Oh. Is that what Time Lords consider sexy? It did feel pretty amazing to have you in my head.”

 

“You have no idea.”

 

He felt her grin against his shoulder. “I think I got some idea, ta.” He laughed in response.

 

“But to answer your question. Yes. Sort of. You're very beautiful, but your mind...”

 

Suddenly, she yawned. He eased them down onto their backs on the bed, and she immediately curled into his side.

 

“Sleep, Love. The TARDIS will tell me when she's ready to leave.”

 

“OK, just a tiny kip.” Within seconds she was out, gently snoring beside him. He couldn't remember having felt this good. Had never imagined he would ever feel good again, not after the Time War.

 

@)-->----

 

Chapter Text

@)-->----

“Doctor?” Martha called as she walked back into the control room, phone still in her hand.

“Hmmm?” he responded, absently, focusing on the vortex eddy readout. Unfortunately, he saw no change from the last twelve hours. “Ready to go ice skating?”

“Actually, Mum wants me to come round for tea.” She came and stood behind him, craning her neck to see what was on the monitor. It was in circular Galiffrean, however, so he couldn't imagine what she expected to see. “I feel bad about having yelled at her, earlier. Would you mind dropping me off for a few hours?

Ah, domestic visits. Time was when he would have gone with Rose. See her mum, tease Mickey, and gripe about milk needing to come from a cow. He'd secretly loved every minute of it. Had hated to be parted from Rose, which was his only reason for tagging along in the first place. But he had learned to enjoy it. It was a bit like having a family.

He had no interest in trying to recreate that with Francine, however. Or the rest of Martha's dysfunctional family, for that matter.

“Yeah, alright,” he said grudgingly, and turned to the console. “What date?”

“Election day?” she answered, sounding tentative. But before he could start setting the coordinates, the TARDIS chimed in his mind to get his attention. And then the room filled with a ringing sound.

“Hang on? Is that a telephone?” Martha asked.

He didn't answer her, couldn't answer, because that sound could only mean one thing. Something he'd been waiting six months for. He spun around and ripped open the cabinet which held the handset. Grabbing it, he fairly shouted into it.

“Yes?!”

“Hello!” came the cheerful Northern accent he'd been hoping to hear. He held his breath. “I believe I have something of yours.”

“Who on Earth are you talking to?” Martha asked, which was a dimensionally and spatially absurd question. Not to mention the fact that he didn't have time to explain.

“Myself,” he said shortly, in reply. To himself, “Where can I meet you?”

“Well, if you're not going to give me a proper answer...” Martha huffed as she sat on the jump seat. He ignored her.

“I've already sent the coordinates,” his past self said. “See you.” The line clicked, and he wasted no time checking the information on the monitor and inputting it to the console. Then he double and triple checked to make sure he had it right. No way was he screwing up this landing.

“Sorry Martha. Looks like tea with your mother might have to wait, a bit. We have to stop and pick up someone, first.”

Martha didn't say anything, didn't ask more questions. She just grabbed hold of the seat and watched him as he hurried around the console, setting the materialization sequence.

The TARDIS hummed delightedly in his mind, apparently nearly as excited to see Rose as he was. He was bubbling with nervous energy. He was desperate to catch her in a tight hug, to smell her, to hold her hand again. He wondered what this meant, that she'd come back to him. If her linear time line still matched his, it had been two and a half years since Bad Wolf Bay. What had she done in that time? Would she come alone, or would she have brought Jackie, Pete, baby Tyler, even Mickey? If she brought Mickey, what did that mean?

The TARDIS shook and the time roter groaned. Then, with a remarkably soft landing, they materialized. He rushed to the door and threw it open, Martha only a few steps behind him.

They were on an essentially empty moon, with a thin atmosphere that showed the stars above them, even as the sun was directly overhead. They were on the shores of a lavender colored lake, standing on black sand. On the horizon was the half crescent of the rising blue planet of Zran. His mind easily identified all of this in a split second, but his eyes were only for the blonde woman standing, not ten meters away, looking out at the landscape. Next to her was a dark haired man in a leather jacket, and behind them was the TARDIS.

“Doctor?” started Martha, but it was his younger self who turned to look at her,

“Hello!” he said, grinning and waving. God, had he really looked that daft? All ears and nose? For a whole year?

At this, Rose finally turned to face him. But something was wrong. She didn't run to him and leap into his arms. She didn't even smile.

So he just stood there, itching to touch her, unsure what to do.

“Doctor,” said Martha, again. “Who's that?”

Martha was a smart girl, brilliant even. It couldn't have escaped her notice that he hadn't taken his eyes off the woman in front of him. Or that the TARDIS in the middle distance was identical to the one behind them. Or that the man next to Rose, who had turned at the name of Doctor, looked nothing like the Doctor she knew.

“Martha Jones,” he said, trying to put a bit of bravado into his voice, “This is Rose Tyler. Rose, meet Martha, she's been along for the ride, for a few months.”

“That's Rose?” asked a surprised Martha.

“Yep!” the Doctor said, feeling proud, even as he was full of trepidation.

“Oh, he mentioned me, did he?” Rose snarked, crossing her arms over her chest.

“Of course I talked about you, Rose–” he insisted, but she interrupted.

“–That's funny, who else have you mentioned? Sarah Jane? Mickey? Jack? Reinette?”

This litany of names did nothing to enlighten him about the source of her anger, but before he could ask her, Martha piped up.

“No, just you. Didn't say you were coming back, though.”

This was bad, this was very bad. Why were Rose and Martha sniping at each other? Why wasn't Rose glad to see him?

“I wasn't sure when it would be. It's been three years since Canary Wharf, for me.” He said this last to Rose, trying to convey his desperation.

Martha frowned in concentration. “That was six months ago.”

“Time machine,” he explained, annoyed with her. She was mucking up his reunion with Rose. Rose ought to have laughed joyfully and run to him, let him pick her up and spin her around... and then...

“Oi!” Rose exclaimed. “Rude!”

“That's me,” he tried a small smile. “Rude and not ginger.”

This was going nowhere fast. He stepped towards Rose, slowly and carefully. It was like trying to approach a wild Venusian horse. She seemed angry and skittish, and he didn't know if she was more likely to bolt or bite.

“Rose,” he asked lowly, once he was only a few feet from her, “What's wrong?”

She glared at him, arms still folded over her chest. “Why didn't you tell me we were married?” she hissed.

“Married?” he squeaked. He looked over at Big Ears, who reached to place a possessive hand on her lower back. The man was smirking at him. Smirking. He was smirking at himself. This was ridiculous.

“You... you mean... Married? Rose...” he lowered his voice again. He knew what she meant. Of course he knew what she meant. But for another precious few seconds he wanted to pretend she was talking about something else. “Rose, we've been married several times. On several planets. More than once to get out of prison and that one time you married that prehistoric humanoid because...”

“Tha's not what I mean, Doctor. An' you know it.” When she was annoyed her accent got thicker. Usually it was adorable. Right now it filled him with dread. She looked up at his younger self. “Tell 'im.”

“She means the bond,” Big Ears said, arching a knowing brow. Because of course she meant the bond. He should have known that sending his younger self would result in her discovery of it. He'd like to wipe that look off his face. It wouldn't be the first time he'd punched himself.

“Right.” He was squeaking again. He hates it when he squeaks. So unmanly. He gripped the back of his neck, desperate to figure out what to say.

“How did it happen?” Rose demanded. “Why don't I remember?”

“Er,” he glanced over at Big Ears. “I know he's going to have to suppress these memories, but what happened is a fixed point and... even the slightest thing could damage it.” He gave Rose a significant look, hoping she understood what he meant. She nodded slightly, and he breathed in slight relief.

“Just give me one reason why I shouldn't just stay here.”

“Stay here?! You can't stay here! There isn't anything on this moon, not even a proper atmosphere.”

“I'd give her a lift,” suggested his other self, unhelpfully. Rose lifted her chin slightly at that.

“I just bet you would,” he growled, glaring at himself. “You can't keep her. You know that. The timelines are already strained with two TARDISes and two Doctors. If you don't leave without her, they could snap.”

The man's leather clad shoulders rose and fell in a shrug, as if to say but it's Rose, which unfortunately he understood, all too well.

“One reason,” he said, scrambling for time. “There are a myriad of reasons! All of time and space, in fact!” – but Rose's eyes had narrowed and her jaw had clenched further – “buuut, you probably want a reason related to the topic at hand.” Obviously. His mind raced.

“We both wanted it,” he blurted. Her brow furrowed, and he rushed to interpolate. “The bond. Um, when we formed the bond we were sort of in the middle of saving the universe. Or um, you were. And we both knew exactly what we were doing, and... we both wanted it.”

Well that had been as clear as mud. He couldn't even hint at the circumstances. If his past self retained even a slight sense of foreboding, it might alter his future actions. As much as the bond tortured him, he also cherished it. It meant that for one shining moment, she had loved him beyond all else. Even if she no longer felt that way, he wouldn't change it for all the gold on Kranlex VI. And there was so much gold on Kranlex VI, the dust sparkled.

She seemed to have understood, at least a little, however. Her eyes seemed to soften, just slightly. She tilted her head infinitesimally, as if considering him.

“I'll explain everything Rose. I promise. Just... on the TARDIS?” he was pleading, and he knew it. But he didn't care. He looked at his former self, who still hadn't dropped his hand from her back. “But he really does have to leave.”

Then, all he had to do was get Rose on the TARDIS. Easy, hopefully.

She let out a long breath. “OK,” she said.

She turned to Big Ears, whose hand shifted to grasp her hip, and looked up at him. He watched as his younger self looked gazed at her, and wondered if he always looked at her like that. Adoring. Hungry.

Rose placed her arms around Big Ear's neck and stood up on her tip toes and – Rasillion! Rose was kissing him. Not him him, but a him.

Maybe he ought to be jealous, but he wasn't. Instead, he felt a bit elated. He watched, fascinated and giddy, as the light, sweet kiss broke off and Big Ears rubbed his nose lovingly against Rose's.

“Finding it hard to let you go,” the younger man murmured, but his Time Lord ears picked it up.

“I know,” Rose whispered back. “I don't want you to go, either. But you've got your own Rose to go back to.”

“That's just it, Love. You rejected me. Said no. Maybe I shouldn't ask, but how long until I see you again?”

“Really? I just always thought you came right back! You returned, like, a second later. You said you forgot the most important part. I'd regretted saying no, the moment you shut the door.”

He smiled in memory. He hadn't gone right back, but months later, he was still thinking of her. So he found the jumper he'd worn that day, and set the coordinates as carefully as possible. He knew he had to go back for her, convince her, somehow. Follow her around like a puppy, if he had to. She had to go with him.

He watched himself kiss her again, this time deeply, and he could smell Rose's arousal rise with the kiss. Suddenly he saw it. A red mark on her shoulder, clearly only a few hours old. Clearly from a set of teeth.

Gods, what had happened during those suppressed hours? When would he get those memories back? Big Ears caught his eye over Rose's shoulder and grinned a Cheshire smile. Uh oh.

Pulling himself, obviously reluctantly, out of Rose's arms, the younger Doctor brushed one, last, loving kiss over Rose's lips, and shot a look at him that clearly said don't screw this up and turned and walked into his TARDIS.

Rose stood and watched as the sound of the time rotor reached them, and the blue box faded from sight.

She turned and looked him up and down, then marched past him into their own TARDIS.

Turning to follow her, he found Martha by the doors, looking at him, face full of pity, and something else. “Who was that, Doctor?” she asked gently, nodding in the direction of where the other TARDIS had been.

He sighed and shoved his hands in his pockets. “That was me, five years ago.”

“What?” Martha was now less sympathetic and more confused.

“It's complicated,” he shrugged. He didn't really want to explain the intricacies of regeneration, right now. He was much more eager to get back in the TARDIS and find Rose. After moving them to the vortex, of course. That way she couldn't escape. Maybe he could just keep Rose in the vortex forever.

Martha proceeded him to the empty control room. He set the controls for dematerialization, and then realized he had a Martha sized hole in his otherwise flawless trap-Rose-in-the-vortex plan.

“Uh, Martha. About visiting your mother...” he began.

“Don't worry about it, Doctor,” she said quietly. “We can go another day. I feel like a nap right now, anyway.” She disappeared down the hall.

@)-->----

Chapter Text

@)-->----

He found Rose in her old room, looking around. She looked up when he entered, hugging her old bear, Mr. Tedopoulos, to her chest.

“You went back to Mum's flat, for my stuff?” she asked him.

“Yeah, seemed only right. Since, well... I hoped you'd be coming back. And if not, I wanted...”

“Thanks.”

He just shrugged, but kept watching as she started picking up dirty clothes and putting away shoes.

“Blimey, I was a slob three years ago,” she muttered. She turned up the covers on her bed. He held his breath for a moment, worried she'd notice that it was more rumpled than she'd left it. She sat on the edge of the bed and looked at him.

“Martha is in love with you, you know.”

He snorted at that. “No she's not. Don't be silly.”

“She is, I know that look.” He liked the idea that Rose was jealous of Martha, even if it was unwarranted.

“Yes?” he said, smirking. He turned to examine a grouping of photos on the wall. Photos he knew very well by now. They'd been taken over the two years they traveled together. “And how would you know that look?” He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye.

Her face hardened a bit, and she got up to move to stand near him.

“You said you'd explain, Doctor. Everything. I think I have a right to know.”

She was right, of course. He just hoped she wouldn't hate him. He turned to look at her and found her closer than he expected. He almost ran into her. He looked directly in her eyes and suddenly remembered their clouded look in the midst of passion.

Damn himself! Big ears had set the memories to unlock the first time he looked her directly in the eye. At the time he'd been laughing at the cowardice of his future incarnation. He hadn't known that over the next year he'd spend all his time being a jealous idiot and refusing to make a move. Scared she'd find someone else, but scared of tainting her with his darkness. He hadn't considered that if this conversation went pear shaped, she might never talk to him again. She might demand to be dropped off somewhere, and he'd lose his bond-mate. He'd have the nothing to hold on to for the rest of his life, but the memory of a single, frantic coupling, five years ago.

He cleared his throat, overwhelmed by the smell of her. She had showered before they had landed on the moon. But that small bag had only contained mementos, no clothes. She'd had to put on the same clothes she'd worn earlier. And he'd torn off her knickers.

She wasn't wearing any pants.

“Uh, yes. Um... explaining. Right. Uh. Where to start?”

“Other you said that bonds are rare.”

“Yes, I did,” he said automatically, remembering the exchange. Then kicked himself mentally when her eyes widened. Damn it, he needed to stop thinking about making love to her. “Um.”

She sighed, but lowered her arms from where they'd been crossed over her chest. The new stance was more open. That was good, right? He looked around the room, hoping to find something to keep himself busy and out of trouble. He noticed a pair of his glasses on her end table where he'd left them, the last time he was in here. He tried to surreptitiously slip them in his pocket.

“Uh... Well. Bonds, in general, aren't rare. Most partnerships of any kind involved some sort of mental bond, but the were generally temporary. Or at least transient, if not reinforced. Deeper bonds might be formed between good friends, parents and children, siblings... lovers.” He glanced at her, blushing. Then hurried on with his explanation. “Uh, yes... All bonds like that require touch, generally...” Here he gestured to his temple.

“Even marriages were a bit perfunctory,” he added. “Lasted only until regeneration–” at this Rose interrupted, looking confused and a tiny bit hurt.

“–Wait,” she jumped in. “If that's true, then does that mean that after you regenerated, we're not...”

“Oh! No! Um, I was actually getting to that. That's why I didn't immediately understand when you said we were married. To my people, marriage was a political alliance, arranged by the houses of the couple. Usually the participants had no say. My first wife and I didn't even live together. We both donated genetic material to the looms, of course. But when I stole the TARDIS and disappeared, I think she was relieved to see the back of me.”

“Donated genetic material? You mean you didn't even have sex?!” She looked so shocked he couldn't help but smile at her.

“Nope! I didn't even lose my virginity until my third body. I was over 400 years old by then.”

“Blimey,” she muttered. He smiled again.

“I've had practice, since.” This was getting to be dangerous territory. He should stop. He should really stop.

“Doctor...” her tone was somewhat warning, but her cheeks were pink.

“Right! Um. But before Rassilion, there were other kinds of bonds, more permanent bonds. I only know about them from history books. Even those descriptions were fairly vague and pejorative. I always thought it sounded romantic, myself.” He stole a look at her at this, and leaned against the wall, hoping for a positive sign.

“So...” she was clearly struggling a bit. “How is this sort of bond different?”

“It was called a mating bond, though it probably had less animalistic names too. The books were painting it as negatively as possible. It was definitely sexual in nature, though it's not like telepathy is required for that...” –Now her eyes were saucers, and she'd blushed almost red. He was slowly going mad.– “The truth is that it takes a very special sort of situation. They were apparently very rare, even before Rassilion outlawed them. Only a very specific pair of people could form them. Even then they'd have to go and stand before the untempered schism. Hope that time itself would approve.”

“So when did we go to this schism-y thing? And why don't I remember it?”

“The schism is gone, Rose. It was destroyed along with Gallifrey.”

“So, how did we do this?!” It seemed like she was getting a bit frustrated with him.

“It happened at the game-station. That's why I couldn't explain before. He couldn't know that sending you away, would result in you opening the TARDIS just to get back.” He looked at her fondly, his perfect, little, jeopardy-friendly Rose. “It was simultaneously the stupidest and most wonderful thing you could have done. You took in the whole vortex and used it to save me, but it was killing you. So I had to take it out, because you couldn't let it go.”

He had to pause, his voice thick with the memory of that moment. It both tore his hearts into tiny pieces and made them swell with love. He hadn't needed to kiss her to pull out the vortex, but he hadn't been able to help himself.

“For the tiniest fraction of a second, we shared all of time and space,” he explained. “That's all the untempered schism really was. A glimpse of everything, every timeline, every possibility. In that moment, well, we were one. And that's essentially what a bond is, two people becoming one.”

She was staring at him, now, so he just decided to keep going.

“That's what I meant by both of us wanting it. Other me, he told you that bonds can't be made without full consent. In order for a bond like that to work, we'd both have to know what it was, what it meant, what would happen if we bonded. And then our minds would have to be compatible... to fit together, which ours... well. Then, stir in a little time vortex, and voila! mating bond.”

She shook her head, a small frown on her forehead. “I still don't understand, Doctor. If we both wanted it, why didn't you tell me about it, right after?”

“You'd passed out, and when you came to, you couldn't remember. That was a bit of a blow to the old ego. Here, we'd gone and formed a bond unheard of in a million years, and you didn't even remember it. Plus, I'm a coward.” He rubbed the back of his neck as an excuse to not look at her. “I almost blurted it out, there at the end, right before I regenerated. But I could hardly form a coherent sentence to explain what was happening. And then I just chickened out entirely.”

“But what about after? After the Sycorax and Christmas?”

“I still wasn't sure if you even liked the new me. You'd even asked me to change back, remember? I'm a coward, Rose. Brave in the face of death, terrified at the idea of loosing you. I was afraid if I said anything, you wouldn't stay with me, ask to go back to your Mum. So, I blocked any telepathic communication whenever I touched your bare skin, and just... I don't know. I guess I thought I'd say something eventually. Almost did a few times. But the longer it went on, the harder it got. What was I supposed to say? 'Hey Rose, guess what? Our minds are inextricably linked, would you like to snog?'” She laughed at him. It was the sound of music.

“Look,” he continued, serious, supplicating. “I can tell you're not excited about this, just... don't leave, yeah? Nothing has to change, if you don't want. I can keep blocking when I hold your hand, It can be like before, like there's no bond at all.”

“So you don't want it, anymore?” she asked, sounding lost. “Why did you want it at the game-station, then? Or is it just this body? Tastes change, yeah? Only the other one wanted me?”

“What? No. No, no, no, no, no! Rose,” he rushed closer, hearts in his mouth. “I'm just trying not to force anything on you. Things like this can't change with regeneration. I tried to explain that...” – back when they were in bed together– “But... you're human. Humans place so much on physical appearance. If you no longer think I'm attractive, or if you just don't feel anything for me now that I've –umph!”

She suddenly grabbed him by the back of the neck, and pulled him into a kiss. He should have been ashamed of himself when he immediately forgot to put up his telepathic blocks. But any shame was swept away by the glorious sensation of her mind kissing his, almost exactly the same way her mouth was.

Gods, were had she learned to do that? Then he recalled his previous self doing exactly this, in that final, deep kiss before leaving her. The one that had aroused Rose so strongly. Blimey, she was a quick study.

She was caressing him with her thoughts. It was a bit clumsy, but her mind was so beautiful and felt so good. He had been on edge during their whole conversation. He always wanted her, had always been attracted to her. It had only gotten steadily worse over time. In the past few minutes, he'd been able to remember the suppressed hours of holding her naked body against his, the taste of her. Now with her body and mind pressed so erotically against his, he wasn't sure if he could stop.

Steeling himself, he pulled away as far as he was able, which wasn't far. Maybe a full inch.

“Rose,” he was gasping, despite his respiratory bypass. He took a deep breath, trying to pull his thoughts into coherence. “Rose, I need you to be very sure about this. If we start, I won't be able to stop. I'll take all of you, make you mine. It will be impossible to resist the bond. Soon, I won't be able to block the connection, even a tiny bit. You and I will be linked forever.”

He felt a thrill run through her at his husky plea, but didn't know if it was his words or the physical contact. He didn't even know if they were her emotions, or his.

“Is that what you want, Doctor?” she breathed.

“It's not about what I want, Rose–” he started.

“Yes it is!” she interrupted, panting. He could feel that she was also on the edge of her restraint, just as he was. “I know what I want. I need to know if this is what you want. Want me.”

“Oh Rose. You have no idea how much I want... I've always wanted you. Will always want you.”

That settled it, apparently, because her mouth was back on his, and he was completely gone. She backed him up against the bed, and then tipped him into a sitting position, climbing into his lap. Their bond was on fire, because now that she could feel it, knew what it was, she was determined to use it. She sent him an image of her riding him, impaling herself on him, both of them still fully dressed. He was fairly sure he was going to spontaneously combust.

In retaliation he sent her an image of his favorite fantasy: her laid out on her back, head thrown back in ecstasy, legs over his shoulders, as he feasted between her legs.

She pulled back, even as he groaned and gripped her hips to pull her against his rock hard erection.

“Yes,” she managed to gulp out as she climbed off him. Then she stripped her dress over her head.

He would be amused if he weren't so elated.

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Chapter Text

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She backed him up against the bed, and then tipped him into a sitting position, climbing into his lap. Their bond was on fire, because now that she could feel it, knew what it was, she was determined to use it. She sent him an image of her riding him, impaling herself on him, both of them still fully dressed. He was fairly sure he was going to spontaneously combust.

 

In retaliation he sent her an image of his favorite fantasy: Her laid out on her back, head thrown back in ecstasy, legs over his shoulders, as he feasted between her legs.

 

She pulled back, even as he groaned and gripped her hips to pull her against his rock hard erection.

 

Yes,” she managed to gulp out as she climbed off him. Then she stripped her dress over her head.

 

He would be amused if he weren't so elated.

 

She shucked her bra off, and flung it in the same direction as her dress. Then she lunged forward and began to tear at his shirt buttons. The sight of her unclothed before him, and then being ambushed by a lap full of soft, warm, naked Rose, effectively short circuited his otherwise very impressive brain. He was overwhelmed by the need to touch her and kiss her. He did so as thoroughly as he could, hands and mouth roaming.

 

“Thank God you're not wearing a tie,” she muttered, reaching his last shirt button.

 

“Not worth it, half the time,” he gasped against her collarbone. “Found myself with very little motivation the past few years. Lucky thing I even got dressed.”

 

She snorted. “Martha would have loved that.” She wiggled him out of his suit jacket, and he did his best to help, but it was torture to pull his hands off her breasts, or hips, or back, or...

 

“Love the blue,” she commented, “though, still too many layers.” She ran her hands up the undershirt beneath his unbuttoned shirt.

 

But his roaming hands had found the insides of her thighs and he expeditiously slid one up to her drenched core. He cupped her, and slid his middle finger across her slit. She cried out and clutched at his shoulders.

 

“God! Doctor!” she moaned as she arched her lower back, thrusting her pelvis down against his hand.

 

He'd had enough of this. Sliding the hand at her center to the back of her knee, and wrapping his other arm around her waist, he pivoted both of them in a single fluid movement. He deposited her carefully with her back on the bed. He flung off his shirt and undershirt and kissed her hard on the mouth, before crawling down her body.

 

He plunged a finger inside her and latched his mouth on her clit. The scream she let out was gratifying, and he had to use his free hand to hold down her hips. The taste of her was as divine as he remembered, but his taste buds were different now, better. The salty sourness burst on his tongue, and he was sure that he'd never get enough of her. If she'd let him, he'd spend hours worshiping her.

 

She clearly liked that concept, because she writhed underneath him, and he was treated to a series of her late night fantasies regarding his tendency to lick. I'll lick every inch of you, he assured her, mouth too busy to fuss with spoken words.

 

An exploration of Rose was something he'd longed for, as far back as he could remember. He wasn't about to waste time now. He settled into a comfortable position on his stomach, and teased, nipped and suckled every inch of her dripping pussy. He carefully gauged her reactions, both physical and mental, noting which strokes, long, short, quick, slow, flat tongue, pointed tongue, curled, circular, back and forth, up and down, drew which reactions. He learned where he needed to be soft, where he needed to be rough. She liked it when he crammed as much of his tongue into her channel as possible. She liked it when he licked her from top to bottom and back up again. She loved it when his fingers were plunging in and out in a twisting movement, while as the same time he licked her clit in an increasingly intense rhythm. As she neared her peak, he worked even faster, in a frenzy to have her come against his mouth. He sucked, and used his teeth while curling against her front wall with his fingers. She shattered, crying out his name.

 

He licked her clean, working her down from her orgasm, savoring her. When she stilled, panting, he slipped his fingers from inside of her, and licked them as well.

 

Glancing up her body, he found her watching, eyes lidded. He couldn't wait any longer. Hastily wiping his face with the back of his hand, he crawled up her body. Only to be thwarted by the fact that he was still dressed from the waist down. He gave her a punishingly deep kiss to stop her giggles, and quickly stood, toeing off his plimsolls as he went.

 

He nearly ripped the button off his trousers in his haste to be rid of them, and dragged both them and his pants off in a single movement. Not exactly a strip tease. Naked, he returned to the bed. To Rose.

 

He was so hard he was astonished he had managed to last this long. She spread her legs, welcoming him in. He placed his cock at her entrance, catching some of the wetness there, rubbing it along the head. He leaned down to kiss her on the mouth, letting her taste herself. Then, slowly, smoothly, he slid inside of her, both body and mind.

 

She was still swollen from her recent orgasm, and tight and wet and hot. She cried out and pushed against him, sinking him as deeply as he could go. He heard himself groan low and long. She gripped him so sweetly. It was awe-inspiring. It was everything he had spent five years of lonely nights imagining. It mas more. It was heaven.

 

He craved pounding into her. Could feel her mounting desire. She ached for him each time he slid out, grunted each time he slid back in. She arched her hips, mind begging him for more, but he kissed her again, sweetly. He wanted to make love to her, this time. So he set a steady, smooth pace.

 

Bracing himself on his forearms, he gazed into her eyes and rocked withing her, pulling out almost completely, and thrusting back as deep as he could go. She keened with each thrust and raised her hips to meet his. There was a sort of frantic feeling that mixed oddly with the measured precision of their movements.

 

Nothing had ever been like this. Nothing else ever would be. She was his. Completely his. He could find solace in her body, in her mind. They had been carved from the substance of the universe and build for one another. This body had been born wanting her.

 

He felt her abdominal muscles tense, felt her body begin to shake. Her orgasm was building within her, more quickly than he or she expected.

 

“Yes, Precious Girl,” he whispered. “Come for me.”

 

And she shattered, screaming his name. He followed swiftly, deep inside her as her walls spasmed around him.

 

Then he was hitching her legs around his waist, pulling her towards him by her bum. He braced her there, arse some inches off the bed, and pistoned into her. If before had been lovemaking, this was fucking. He pounded into her as quickly, as deeply, as hard as he could. He'd given her no time to recover, and almost immediately she was screaming, clutching at him, as she came again. Her mind couldn't recover, and he was awash in incoherent pleasure. He simply fucked her harder, setting a pace that was beyond punishing. She tumbled into another orgasm, and another. Finally, when he felt he'd wrung enough pleasure from her, he allowed himself to come again, her name the only word he could remember.

 

He released her hips and collapsed into her. They lay still for a moment, breathing hard. Then a thought flitted across Rose's mind, amusement that they had gone from arguing to sex so quickly. He snorted at her, and she giggled helplessly, running her hands down his sweat slicked back.

 

He sighed in mock outrage, and growled in her ear, before placing a lazy kiss behind it. He was too spent, to happy to move. He didn't seem to be crushing her. She hummed contentedly and nuzzled his hair.

 

It had been a long day. He had been too hot, too cold, frightened, had his mind invaded, and gotten Rose back. All in a few hours. Shagging had taken the last of his energy.

 

He considered rolling off her, but decided that staying put would prevent her from getting away. He felt her hear that, but didn't feel her reaction, because he was asleep.

 

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It was four hours, and forty-seven seconds later when he awoke, lying on his back in Rose's bed. For the briefest of moments he was filled with delirious sadness, thinking it had all been a beautiful, hopeless dream. But she was lying pressed against him, and he could feel the gold of her mind entwined with his. She was here. She had come back. What's more, she wanted to live as his bond mate, to make love with him.

 

His life was perfect in a way he never imagined it could be. For a few precious moments he allowed himself to pretend nothing could ever go wrong again.

 

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