It was time to talk about it. Knowing him, she would have to choose her words carefully. She would have to be blunt. Say exactly what she intended. Short and to the point before he had a chance to realize what was happening and run. The Doctor avoided emotions like the plague, and Rose knew if she didn't get all the words out he'd not give her another chance. King of distractions; it's how they'd managed to be in this predicament now.

Rose was beyond annoyed. For years he glowered and sulked for every bit of attention she received from any male, female or 'other'. He grumped and frowned for every smile she bestowed in turn. His jealousy had been endearing at one time. It made her breathless and her heart race knowing that she mattered to him enough for it to get under his skin when someone showed interest in her. She was under his skin, and he was under hers.

They weren't just in love. They were epically in love. She knows it. She knows he knows it. They just have never actually had the conversation. They almost did, so long ago outside that chippy when he told her she could spend the rest of her life with him. But, distractions. That's how it went, with them growing ever closer and biting back the words. Rose was thoroughly disgusted with both of them.

Everyone has a limit and today she found hers. They were at a street market on Earth in the 85th century where Rose had previously found the best artisan cosmetics and skin care products she'd ever tried and her skin had never looked better. She'd just paid for her things and laughed as the young man flirted with her. Suddenly the Doctors arm was around her waist and he was pulling her flush into his side. With his hand on her hip he looked the young man in the eye and said. "Rose, if you've done here how about some lunch?" Not giving her a chance to reply he turned them and headed back toward the food stalls.

They'd gone maybe 30 steps and it hit Rose what his possessiveness must look like. All the varying emotions it made her feel, and how it's long since time to call him out on it. Pulling out of his embrace, he startled and tried to grab her arm.

"Rose, what-"

"I'm not hungry." Heading back toward the Tardis, she frowned as she organized her thoughts. He followed, clearly confused and worried about her unpredictable behavior. She realized she'd concerned him, contact being so intuitive between them that for her to purposely push away from him without explanation was a bit alarming. She glanced at him from the corner of her eye and caught him doing the same. She snorted and chewed her lip, frowning when he lifted his eyebrows and hands. A silent inquiry that just fueled her frustration and resolve.

She stomped through the Tardis door and up the ramp, tossing her bag on the jump seat she turned and leaned against the console. She watched him as he closed the door, hands in his pockets. He watched her cautiously as he slowly made his way up the ramp. Finally after a moment of watching her chew her lip he asked if he'd done something wrong.

"I think we both have," she replied.

His eyebrows creeped a bit higher on his forehead, but he waited for her to continue. She rubbed her sweaty palms on her thighs and hoped he'd let her get through it without his usual distraction tactics. Better say it fast then, she thought.

"We're ridiculous. You know I love you, properly love you, and I know you love me too and we've been pretending that we're just best mates for years, and we are best mates, but we're so much more too. What we have Doctor, it's epic, but we could be so much more epic if we'd just stop pretending that we're not in love. I want to be free to actually love you the way I love you. I want to be with you, properly be with you."

He'd inhaled sharply when she said she loved him, and throughout her rapid speech his hand had migrated to rub the back of his neck. He was staring at her with his mouth open, and when he said "Rose, I-" in his squeaky voice she plowed on before he could say more.

"I get that I'm only human, and that bothers you. And I get relationships are domestic and you don't like domestic. It scares you, I get that. But Doctor, I promised you my forever and now that we know I'm gonna live a bit longer than regular humans that's just more time I have to give you. It's a big deal, yeah? Promising you all the time I've got. Plus, I want you to be happy, and how happy are you gonna be after I'm gone when you're thinking about how we never actually did this. What's standing in our way, really?"

The Doctor ran his hands over his face, and by the time Rose came to a finish was supporting his chin in one hand with the other arm crossed over his chest. He was watching her with his eyebrows in his hairline, and as the seconds ticked by Rose began to wonder if she'd gotten it wrong. The butterflies in her stomach turned to stones. She tapped her nails against the console and glanced away, taking a breath she whispered, "unless you don't...I mean, I'm happy with how things are. If you don't feel-"

"Nonono! You've always seen right through me." Closing the distance between them, the Doctor took her hands and gently ran his thumbs over her knuckles. "Rose, it scares me how perceptive you are. But I'm thick. So thick because I thought I'd made myself clear and I failed to consider that humans do things different."

Lacing their fingers together, he raised their hands up between them.

"I've been taking us at a pace far more appropriate for my people. Do you have any idea how intimate this gesture is for me?"

He steps a bit closer, "When I promised Jackie Tyler, 3 years ago when we burned up that sun to say goodbye, I promised I'd love you and look after you. That was a vow Rose. All this time, I thought you knew. I don't see anyone but you."

Rose sniffed, feeling weepy with happiness, embarrassment, and exasperation at what he was telling her.

"So you're saying that-" she starts.

"We're engaged, yes," he finishes.

She laughed suddenly, "For you, we've been together for years!"

and then she wheezes and is laughing so hard she goes down on her knees on the grating, pulling The Doctor down with her. "Takin' things slow!"

He laughs with her and wraps his arms around her, they hold each other as the hilarity of the situation finally sets in full force.

"My God we're so thick!" Rose gasps after the laughter subsides. The Doctor wipes her tears away with his thumbs and smiles with her.

"Not so, so thick. We are together. All this time, we've been together, loving one another."

"Yeah, but I didn't know that!" She thumped his shoulder to prove her point.

Moving his hands down her back to her waist, he leans in and presses his lips to hers. It's sweet and gentle, and she sighs as she kisses him back. Nipping him quickly as he pulls away, he giggles and looks a bit surprised.

She gives him her tongue touched grin. "So Doctor, I never would have pegged you for the 'take it slow' type."

"Weeell, I'm not. Usually. But..."

"Wha'?"

"It's you. I wanted to do this right."

"Hmm" Rose inclined her head, then kissed him. Skimming her fingers through the hair at his nape, she pressed closer and marveled at how wonderful these simple kisses felt. Pulling back suddenly, she told him, "Now we're properly together, no more possessive jealousy. Ok. I'm yours. Forever."

"I'll try." He told her, and nuzzling noses he gently pushed her hair back over her shoulder then skimmed his fingers down the side of her neck and came to a stop at her clavicle. Her breath hitched at his touch and he pulled back to look her in the eye.

"You know," she began, stopping to lick her lips, "I'm ok if you want to pick up the pace a bit." She bites her lip as a blush blooms across her cheeks. "I've wanted you for years," she confessed quietly.

With a tender and hungry look on his face, he whispered back, "Me too. But..."

Rose groans and thumps her head against his shoulder, making him laugh. "But," he continues, "even though I would love to make love with you right this moment. I still want to do this properly."

"Properly?"

"Marry me? Allow me the chance to commit myself to you, officially."

With tears in her eyes, she's nodding her head yes and he's kissing her again. Taking it deeper this time and teasing the tip of his tongue against hers. He pulls back when he senses things about to heat up.

"Off the grating. I'd like to keep my knees."

Rose laughs with him. Getting to their feet, they realize they haven't eaten and set the Tardis for their favorite chippy. They have wedding plans to make, and a future to live. It's going to be perfectly fantastic.

The End