"Rose?" the Doctor asked. He had to look at her cheek - lately looking into her eyes had been painful. They looked... dead. And she was so numb.
Ever since pre-revolutionary France. And Reinette. The Doctor's disgust at himself had reached new levels.
"I want to go home."
Five words. Five words were all it took to break the mighty Time Lord into pieces. He figured them to be the worst combination of words in the English language. And coming out of Rose's mouth... Oh God.
He clenched his jaw and stared at her. He couldn't. He wouldn't let her. He needed her.
In his crazed daze, he had an idea.
"Say that to my face," he said.
Rose stared at him in blank confusion. She'd just uttered the words - and it had taken everything in her - and now he wanted her to say them again?
"I-" she started to say, but was cut off.
"No! That's not what I mean," he shouted, pushing and pulling levers at the console. With a shutter and a wheeze, the TARDIS was off, and just as suddenly, parked
He gestured his arm toward the door, almost sarcastically. "Go on."
Rose had no idea what the alien was doing. Had he gone barmy? She took a tentative step outside.
She gasped as she realized what he meant.
There he was, leather jacket and big ears. Her Doctor. The one that would never do what the other had done. He wouldn't leave her.
The ninth Doctor was walking down the street in an angry manner, mumbling to himself. Rose took in her surroundings and her jaw dropped as the tenth Doctor came to stand next to her.
The past Doctor was approaching fast, and he finally looked up and saw the two standing in front of the TARDIS.
"Is this the day my dad died?" Rose asked the current Doctor in shock.
The past Doctor stared, also in shock. He had just left stupid Rose at her father's house. And now she was standing in front of him? He realized it was a future her, suddenly, and he got even angrier. So this was the day to muck up time, wasn't it?
Then he glared in shock as it all hit him. That must be a future him! With future Rose! What the hell were they doing?!
"Yes, it is," the current Doctor stated. "I want you to say it to him. To the me with the daft face you loved. Say it to him and I'll let you go." He choked on the last part.
Rose stared at her Doctor. The one who cared about her. The one she missed so. much. He stared right back in surprise.
"I... I..." she tried to say it, but couldn't force out the words while looking into those piercing blue eyes. The ones that clearly needed her, even while he was mad.
He stared at the future him and the beautiful future Rose. They were obviously in an arguement. What had he meant by let her go? And did he say loved? She loved him?
Suddenly, a sobbing Rose was catapulted into his arms. His instincts took over and he held her close, murmuring calming words in her ear and stroking her hair.
"I miss you so much. You're-You're not the same! You don't... care about me anymore. God, I want you back... My Doctor," she cried inconsolably into his leather jacket, the one she missed more than anything.
Both Doctors' blood ran cold.
"What did you do?!" the ninth exclaimed at the same time the tenth yelled, "What do you mean?!"
Then Rose was being yanked out of her Doctor's arms and into the current's.
"Rose Tyler," he growled, cupping her face. "I am exactly the same man and I feel exactly the same way. I need you just as much as he does! Can't you see?!"
His forehead was pressed against hers and she tried to escape, she really did. But she was too upset to fight.
The ninth Doctor watched in complete surprise. This future him... What did he do to Rose? Were they... were they...?
"No! No, you don't. He loved me and he'd never leave me to shag some French aristocrat!" As soon as she said it her eyes widened and she slammed a hand over her mouth.
The ninth glared in disgust. He absolutely hated his future self. This is what he'd become?! Leaving Rose Tyler to shag a... no.
As Rose's hand left her mouth the ninth Doctor made to step forward, but the tenth gave him no time before his lips crashed onto Rose's.
Rose gave a muffled shout as the current Doctor snogged the life out of her. This wasn't at all how she'd imagined their first kiss. She'd thought it'd be sweet, romantic, gentle... but this. This was rough and demanding and desperate.
The Doctor pulled back with wild eyes. Tears brimmed on his lids and he fought to keep them at bay.
The ninth Doctor had had enough.
He pulled Rose from the tenth, staring at her. "Are you okay?"
After she gave him a nod, he did what he'd been wanting to do since the whole fiasco started.
He reared back and punched his future self in the face.
"OW!" the tenth yelled, and all was silent.
Then he heard the most gorgeous sound in the world.
Rose was giggling.
She grabbed onto his leather-clad arm as she laughed hard, and he wrapped an arm around her, satisfied. There were tears on her cheeks from where she had started crying during that bloody kiss, and he was happy that she was now smiling.
His future self straightened up and smiled a hesitant smile at himself and Rose.
"You know what?" he said. "I deserved that."
Then he took Rose's hand.
"I-" he started to say, but cut himself off. "No. I am so so so sincerely sorry for the atrocious way I acted. I didn't know what to do and I was spontaneous, like always. But I always knew I'd find a way back to you. And I did not shag her. God, no. Rose, it's only you. I... I... I care about you so much, I..."
He couldn't finish, so his ninth self did. "I love you."
Rose was overwhelmed, but her smile grew brighter. She leaned up and gave her old Doctor a chaste peck, whispering, "I think you've got a world to save at the moment."
Then she hesitantly walked into the current Doctor's arms, who held her in a bone-crushing hug.
Once he'd pulled her into the TARDIS, he turned to her with a grin. "You never said it to him, so I don't have to let you go!"
Rose laughed. They had a lot to talk about, but for now this was enough.