Revelations and Confessions

By Fluffy Nabs

Doctor Who – Tenth Doctor/Rose PWOP

Rating: M

So, Queen Victoria was a werewolf.

The thought was so funny that they were laughing about for nearly 15 minutes after re-entering the TARDIS, banishment from the British Empire notwithstanding. The two of them, giggling ferociously, simply closed the door behind them, set a new course, collapsed onto the ratty couch by the console, and fell on each other in helpless hilarity.

When the laughter was reduced to occasional chuckles, Rose tilted her head toward him, all bemusement, sparkling brown eyes, and flushed cheeks. Her hair was in disarray from the cold Scottish wind, so the Doctor reached up a hand to tuck the wayward strands behind her ear. His fingers traced the delicate pink shell of her ear and she shivered.

The flush in her cheeks was no longer from the invigorating breeze nor purely from laughter, any more. Her pupils fixed on his lips and dilated. He watched her bite her lip. They were still so new to each other. He wanted to kiss her.

"Do you want me to kiss you?" he asked softly.

She glanced away, ducked her head, still embarrassed by the novelty of being his lover. Then her eyes met his and she nodded. "Yeah," she whispered. She was nervous, breathless. She licked her lips.

The Doctor started to close the distance between them, and Rose met him half-way. She felt so warm against him, so soft. He could smell her skin, all soap and rain-scented wind and heather, honest sweat from running for their lives and something else. Something primal and dark and… furry? The Doctor pulled back slightly, his eyebrows furrowed.

Rose's eyes fluttered open and she met his gaze quizzically. "What?"

His lips quirked in a tiny smile. "You smell like wolf."

The blush of her lust drained from her face, replaced by a look of dawning horror. She sat back from him suddenly. "That's what he said."

"Who?" he asked. He sat back, as well, mentally cursing himself for ruining the mood.

"The werewolf."

"The werewolf said you smell like wolf?"

"No!" She shook her head in frustration. "He said, 'There's something of the wolf in you. You burn like the sun.'" She pressed her lips together, and stared in the direction of the console, though he knew she wasn't seeing it. "I feel like… I almost know what he means, but it's escaping me, like a dream." She shook her head, and looked at him beseechingly. "What did he mean, Doctor?"

He glanced down at the grid beneath them, then back up at her, clenching his jaw. "I knew it would come up sooner or later. I've been thinking of how to tell you."

"Tell me what?"

"What really happened at the Game Station."

She swallowed. "Oh. That."

"That," he agreed. "That, with a capital 'T.'"

She reached up and twirled a lock of hair around her finger. "Yeah. So… what did happen? I remember opening the Heart of the TARDIS, and hearing a song." She paused, her eyes faraway. "Such a beautiful song, never heard anything so beautiful. I dream about it, every night. That music..." She gave her head a little shake. "And then I woke up, and you regenerated. That's all."

So he told her what had happened, sparing nothing, answering all her questions. It didn't take long. When he was done, she sat in stunned silence, her face bathed in the aqua-colored light of the console, eerie and remote.

"Rose?" he asked softly, after letting her sit in silence for a few minutes.

She stood up and walked away from him.

The Doctor sprang from the couch, following her, but keeping his distance. "Rose?" he asked again. "Are you all right?"

She was making her way toward her bedroom. She glanced over her shoulder at him, her eyes large and serious. She held her hand out, palm facing him. He stopped. She entered her room and shut the door quietly behind her.

The Doctor stood in the corridor for a long time, watching her door, pondering. He supposed it must be a shock to suddenly learn that she existed not simply because her parents fell in love and got married and all that, but because she had gone through space and time as the entity known as Bad Wolf, and she had created herself. She was an everlasting paradox. She created herself so that she could turn 19, meet him, save him, become the Bad Wolf, and start the whole cycle over again by creating herself. It was a lot to take in. Then, of course, on top of that was the fact that for a few minutes, she'd been the most powerful entity in the universe. It sort of put a spin on one's sense of self, of the very structure of the universe which before had been taken for granted. The Doctor decided -- rather magnanimously, he thought -- to let her have some space.

The next day she came out of her room, white-faced and red-eyed. He was standing at the console, running a diagnostic to kill time while he waited for her. She walked directly up to him and started talking.

"I used to know who I was," she said softly. "I was Rose Tyler, daughter of Jackie and Pete Tyler. I lived on the Powell Estates in London, I had a boyfriend, a stupid job. Then I met you and we had all these adventures and I thought I changed. I thought I'd become something better than I was – but I was still Rose Tyler." She wrapped her arms around herself and ran her hands up and down as if she were cold. "My history was short and I knew everything about myself." She squeezed her hands until her knuckles were white. "And now, I'm the Bad Wolf." He watched her throat bob up and down as she swallowed heavily. "Is that why you let me come along? Did you sense something… about me? Something different?"

A soft smile stole across his face. "Yes," he said.

She looked down.

The Doctor crossed to her, something tender and deep welling up from within him, and placed a gentle hand under her chin, tipping her face up so she would look at him. "I sensed that you were bright, and curious, and bold, and compassionate. I sensed that you were adventurous, and quick-thinking. Didn't hurt that you'd saved my life once or twice." He smiled gently at her, eyebrows tipped up, the corners of his eyes crinkling.

Tears started falling down her cheeks.

He enfolded her in a hug, and she unfolded her arms to wrap them around him. "Oh, Rose," he said softly. "I asked you to come with me because I saw the potential human in you, not the all-powerful TARDIS interface."

"Interface?" she asked. "Is that what I am? Like a computer part?"

He wagged his head from one shoulder to the other. "Well," he temporized. "Not as such. Well," he amended. "Kind of. You see, the TARDIS isn't just any computer, she isn't just any ship. She's a living thing. I've told you before."

"Yeah," she said, her voice muffled by his shoulder.

"And anyway," he stressed the last word. "It's not what you are, it's not what defines you. That's something that you decide. Will you be rude or polite or serious or silly or compassionate or detached or happy or sad? You have choices, Rose."

"But I didn't," she said. "I was always destined to be the Bad Wolf, because I had to be the Bad Wolf in order to exist in the first place, right?" She scrunched up her face. "I mean, suppose I had chosen to follow your advice, and let the TARDIS grow old and die. Wouldn't I have just… winked out of existence, then?"

He couldn't lie to her. So he told the truth. "Yes." She shivered in his arms, and he squeezed her tighter. "Very few people have a destiny, Rose," he said. "But there's something about destinies that most people don't know; once you fulfill them, the rest of your life is yours. You can make what you want out of it."

She was silent for a long time. "What if I'm not done? What if I'm still trapped by fate?"

His wild, free Rose. He kissed the top of her head. "You trust me, yeah?"

She nodded. "Yeah." She raised her gaze to meet his, her eyes still wet from tears and rimmed in red, and he felt his heart clench from the emotion there. "Completely."

"Then hold still a moment."

She stilled, and he closed his eyes and reached out --

A thousand different lives flickered before him, all of them Rose's lives, each one different because of choices she made. He didn't go too far, he didn't peer too close. It was enough to know the strings were there. But there were some things he couldn't help but see; Jackie Tyler, older, bouncing a baby boy on her knee; Mickey, dressed all in black, his face concerned and serious; the letter T made of honeycomb hexagons; Rose dressed like a queen; Rose hefting an enormous gun; Rose accepting a diploma; Rose running, laughing, crying, sitting in a rocking chair, standing on a beach, slapping someone, shouting, her face an expression of sorrow, of joy, of confusion, of anger, of ecstasy…

The Doctor pulled back, buried the tendrils of what-could-be in the back of his mind lest he become mad with possibilities.

"Rose, I can see the potential of your life, and it's huge. Bigger than most people's, actually. There are so many choices stretching before you, yet to come. You have free will, you know. It's official, I've seen it."

A tremulous smile flitted over her lips. "I can do anything, and it'll really by my own choice? Not some… puppet show?"

"No strings," he promised.

Her smile bloomed full-fledge, now. "Now don't start callin' me Pinocchio."

The laughed together, and the Doctor felt his heart lift. He'd been so worried for her. He kissed her on the forehead and then grinned down at her. "Where to, Rose Tyler?" He bounded to the console, suddenly filled with relief and energy. "Anywhere, any when in the universe!" Ideas filled his head, of places and times she would find fascinating. "There's an absolutely fabulous market, in China. But not the country China, the planet China. They have this foamy drink, sort of like peaches and blueberries, oh, you'll love it!" He bounced to another set of controls. "Or if you like, we could go on an African safari in 1896! You've never seen such enormous elephants! Ooh!" He sprang from the console to stand just in front of her. "I know of this delightful little planet, and every life form is a flower. Even the people are flowers, they communicate by furling and unfurling their petals, isn't that brilliant?" He stood on his toes in anticipation of her choice. "Well?"

She was returning his grin, her million-wattage signature smile, painted in tones of gold and aqua from the lighting. "None of the above."

He raised his eyebrows, curious to see what she had come up with this time. It was usually excellent. "Welllll?" he asked again, drawing out the word.

She stepped closer to him, looked up at him through her eyelashes. His pulse suddenly skyrocketed. "I want," she said in low voice, "to go to a beach. Find me a world with no other people. I want turquoise waters and pink sand and brilliant blue skies." She grabbed his tie and pulled him ever so slightly closer. "Nothing dangerous that'll poison, sting, bite, or devour us, mind you." Her lips brushed the edge of his jaw. "I want to work on my tan… all… over."

He stood thunderstruck for a moment, as she lightly danced away and settled herself primly on the couch. As he stared at her, mouth agape, she arched her eyebrows and gestured to the console. "Doctor? You promised me anywhere, any when. I expect prompt delivery."

"Yes!" he shouted. "You want beaches? Pink sand, lemme think. Oh! Kirisonbo four! Their tropic seas have a distinctly turquoise hue, if I recall. Almost the entire planet is made from rose quarts, gives the sand a very pink color." He started setting coordinates. "Nothing dangerous… we'll set the time to the Mesgabarcic era – nothing but plants and bacteria." He winked at her, his hands flying over the controls. "Don't worry, nothing that'll make you sick." He pulled the final lever, and grabbed the edge. "Hang on!" he shouted.

A minute later the TARDIS settled and Rose ran out the doors. He dashed deeper into the TARDIS for just a moment to fetch something, and when he emerged he saw that Rose had stopped just outside, her face alight as she took in the promised pink sand, turquoise seas, and luminous blue skies, as well as the tall, flexible trees set back from the water line, the soft-looking long grasses, and the profusion of tiny, lime-green flowers. She turned her face to the fragrant breeze and then glanced at him over her shoulder. "Oh, this is brilliant!" she said.

"So glad you approve," he said. "You said something about a tan?"

"So I did," she agreed, and started walking toward the beach. As she went, she shed her jacket, her shirt, her jeans, her shoes and socks, and finally, her under things. When she was completely divested of clothes, she turned to him and held out her hand. "Join me?"

He jogged over to her, his grin getting wider and wider the closer her got. "Just one thing," he said. He handed her a large, soft blanket which he'd retrieved while she was outside. "This is to protect against sand getting into rather… sensitive places." He tilted his head down and gave her a thorough once-over. He shed his coat, letting it fall, and began removing the rest of his clothing slowly, letting his gaze roam over Rose's body freely. He enjoyed the fact that she watching him disrobe with obvious hunger in her eyes, her tongue caught between her teeth. Once nude, he rummaged in his coat pocket, and came out with a spray bottle of sunscreen. "And this," he said, flourishing it grandly, "is to protect against sunburn. Although…" he bobbed his head from side to side. "I might have difficulty reaching some areas." He looked back and forth between Rose's neck, enticingly exposed by the tilt of her head, and the bottle. "Maybe you should go first?"

She laughed, her expression knowing and delighted, and found a semi-shaded area to spread the blanket out on. On pretense of helping her, he managed to hinder her efforts, mostly because he was busy running his hands over her skin, and snatching quick kisses to the tender areas she least expected – the back of her knees, her ribs, the inside of her elbow, the nape of her neck. Finally they got the blanket stretched across the sand. They stepped onto it, careful not to track sand.

Rose turned, glancing back over her shoulder, and she lifted her hair from her neck, keeping it in a messy bundle atop her head. "Get my back, Doctor?"

He looked at her, at the long curve of her spine, dappled in sunlight and shadow from the tree above them. "Oh, yes," he managed, his throat tight, his voice low and breathy. He stepped closer to her and spritzed the sunscreen to the nape of her neck. He watched her shiver as the tiny droplets hit her skin. The Doctor leaned forward and kissed the shell of her ear, letting his breath raise the tiny hairs on her skin, as he pressed his hand to the newly anointed patch of skin and rubbed in the sunscreen. "Oh, I see," he breathed. "You like to be touched lightly," he spritzed another patch of skin. "You like a delicate stroke." He rubbed it in slowly, enjoying the sight of goosebumps rising all over her skin.

He covered her back, her shoulders, her arms, slowly working the sunscreen in. Before he reached her rear, he pressed the length of his body against her, his hands gripping her shoulders. Her exquisitely soft, round bum pressed into his arousal as she arched into him. He placed his lips to the tender spot beneath her ear, and whispered. "Lie on your stomach."

She lowered herself down to the blanket, raised her arms to rest her head on them, changed her mind, and made a small mound of sand under the blanket and used it as a hard pillow. She rested her head there, and then put her hands at her sides, arms slightly akimbo.

She closed her eyes, reveling in the warmth of the sun and the refreshing breeze that blew over her body in intermittent wafts. She heard the Doctor breathing behind her. A spritz, followed quickly by the feeling of the cool droplets of sunscreen landing delicately on her rear. Then the Doctor's hands, cool and soft, with just the right amount of teasing pressure. He made sure to thoroughly work in the liquid, and the feeling of his hands gliding over her skin made her inner muscles tighten. She could feel a wetness starting to gather between her legs.

Two more sprays in quick succession and the Doctor was rubbing the sunscreen into the backs of her thighs and knees. His long fingers brushed tauntingly at the tuft of hair she knew must be peeking out from the apex of her thighs, but he never did more than tease. In short order he was working on her calves, and when he got to her feet, he massaged them for a couple of minutes. There was a pause, and Rose found herself reveling in the sensual and relaxed sensation, as if her limbs were coursing with a languid desire with every pulse of her heart.

"Turn over, Rose Tyler," the Doctor told her, his voice low and husky.

She did, and she looked at him, his face serious, his eyes dark. His lips were parted, and she could see his pulse in his throat. She let her eyes wander down his chest, wiry and strong, and his arms, long and not overly muscled, but she knew the strength in them. His stomach, pale white, rippled abs with just a sprinkling of hair that started above his navel, skipped it, and picked up again below, growing thicker, where his arousal rose proudly from the thatch of hair there. She lingered on that, before quickly taking in his legs, the muscles bulging from his kneeling position. She looked once more at his arousal, studying it, and she felt a slow, broad smile crossing her lips.

"Like what you see?" He asked.

"Yeah," she said. "I do."

He crawled forward just a bit, until he was kneeling between her knees, and then, looking directly in her eye the entire time, he picked up the sunscreen, and sprayed it on her legs. This time he did both of her legs simultaneously, his hands traveling up and down in long, sure strokes. He started on the outside and worked his way in, touching her lightly on the inside of her thighs until they parted with a will of their own. Rose almost closed her eyes at the intense sensation of it, but the power in his gaze wouldn't allow her to. Next he sprayed the sunscreen on her stomach, and stroked her hips and waist and abs and ribs in motions that nearly tickled, but didn't. He had to adjust his position slightly in order to reach, so he straddled her hips, and she could feel his sac resting against her sex. The cool, heavy softness, the first substantial and purely sexual touch she'd received during this whole sunscreen application process, made her gasp, and she felt the release of her juice in anticipation. She tried to buck her hips, but the Doctor suddenly grabbed them and pinned her to the blanket.

"Don't move," he said. "Don't move a muscle unless I move it for your." He leaned forward and kissed her lightly, backing off when she tried to deepen it. "Don't… move."

Rose lay her head back again. The Doctor raised her arms, one at a time, positioning her hands next to her ears. He attended to her face, coating the shell of her ears, her forehead and cheeks, her chin, the skin between her nose and lips, and her neck. She was already wearing lip gloss with had sun protection in it, so he just kissed her there, lightly, teasingly. Thoroughly covering the skin of her arms and upper chest with the sunscreen, there was a long moment when the Doctor just stared at her breasts, the only part of her body that hadn't been lathered, yet.

Instead of spraying her breasts, the Doctor liberally applied the sunscreen to his own palms, and brought them to hover over her bosom, which, she noted with a tiny bit of humor in the one part of her brain which wasn't overwhelmed with lust, was heaving, romance-novel-style.

"Don't move, Rose," he said softly. Then he brought both of his palms down, putting the very slightest pressure on the very tips her nipples, which were already stiff and pebbled. Rose whimpered and tried not to arch upward into the sensation. She felt her stomach muscles tensing and she took a deep breath, which lifted her breasts toward him. He had anticipated that, however, and no matter how deeply she breathed, she could not make him touch her more than he wanted. The Doctor moved his hands in tiny circles, which got wider and firmer until he was touching her entire nipple and areola. Then suddenly he brought his fingers down and squeezed, almost hard enough to hurt. Rose cried out, and the Doctor relaxed his grip before moving his hands to a different position, and squeezing again, kneading her breasts, lifting them and pressing them, moving his hands around and around. The sensations seemed to go directly to her womb.

She brought her hands up and captured his head, tried to pull him close to her so she could kiss him. He kissed her eagerly, but while she was thus occupied, the Doctor grabbed Rose's wrists and pinned them above her head with one hand. He shifted, and her legs were nudged apart by his knees. She opened them willingly.

"I told you," he said, nearly growling, "Not to move."

"I couldn't help it," she gasped. She arched her back, pushing her hips up towards his.

"No," he ground out, his eyes dark and so intense that she caught her breath. He pushed his hips down, trapping hers under him in the sand, but his sex, while heavy and rigid against her, was not positioned correctly for entry.

"Please," she said softly.

He suddenly pressed his forehead to hers, his eyes tightly shut.

Rose stilled completely, her dark eyes wide as she tried to focus on his face, at the expression of almost pained intensity. "Doctor?"

He pulled his head back just enough so they could see each other properly. "I want…" he stopped, his face suddenly full of trepidation.

"What is it, Doctor?" When he didn't immediately answer, her gaze softened. "You can tell me."

"Rose, I know you… value your… privacy."

She smiled cheekily, her tongue briefly poking out from between her teeth. "Not very private right now, am I?"

He swallowed, glancing at the tongue, watching her lips speak, and then looking back into her eyes. "That's not the kind of privacy I mean," he said softly.

She looked puzzled. "Well, what do you mean?"

He took a deep breath. "Remember our first adventure, when the sun expanded and the Earth was destroyed, and I said that the TARDIS gets into your head and translates other languages for you?"

Rose nodded slowly, and he saw an inkling of understanding come into her expression.

"I want inside your head, Rose Tyler," he said softly. "I want your permission to be close to you in the most… the most intimate way possible." He kissed her lips. "I want that so much it… it nearly hurts."

"Is that how Time Lords… do it? With telepathy?"

Something slightly sad stole over his features. "It's how I want to do it with you." He kissed her again, on the corner of her lips. "Please say yes," he breathed. He kissed the other corner of her mouth. "Please let me in," he whispered, and nibbled his way to her ear.

"What'll happen?" she asked, whispering.

He kept his mouth close to her ear, but he turned enough to watch her face. "I'll feel what you're feeling. The sensations." His tongue darted out to lick her earlobe and she shuddered beneath him. "The emotions." He pressed a kiss to the tender spot at the base of her jaw. "And you'll feel me."

"Will we… hear each other?" Her eyes were drifting closed at his ministrations.

"Only if you speak out loud," he murmured, before breathing lightly into her ear, and then gently biting her earlobe. "Please," he said. "Oh, Rose Tyler, please."

"Yes," she sighed.

And then he was kissing her with such exuberance that she only slowly registered the fact that he'd shifted himself until his sex was touching hers, and with tiny twitches of his pelvis he was teasing her entrance. Already slick with want, her body responded to the prompting and gushed against him, eager and hot.

He was still holding her hands above her head with his left hand. He took his right hand, and placed this first two fingers lightly against her temple and pressed his forehead gently to hers and --

Rose gasped a lungful of air inward and then released it in a quick, startled cry. She could feel him inside of her, on top of, next to, surrounding her own emotions and sensations. She could feel the frantic pounding of both of his hearts, both against her own breast, and also as if they beat inside her ribcage, pushing the blood to tingling limbs. Her own sex was hot and heavy and tingling and yearning, and she felt the sparks of lust tripping through his organ into a deep-seated part of him. She could feel the urge to move forward, not only in her own body, but in his.

The Doctor did thrust forward then, and his pleasure commingled with hers so exquisitely that she nearly exploded. She'd never felt so good without pushing over the edge of orgasm before. But something -- she recognized the Doctor's inhibition -- stopped her from coming. "Not yet," he gasped. "It can get so much better."

He was about half-way inside of her, and he pulled back, only to push in again, slowly. Rose experienced the feeling that he did, as his sex pushed into her body. The wet gripping, the soft give, the hot enveloping of him by her. At the same time she was hyper aware of the sweet stretching as he opened her, and the luxurious weight of his body on hers, and the soft caress of his balls as they slowly brushed against her.

Rose squeezed her inner muscles around him, and the Doctor jerked spasmodically, uncontrolled for just that second. "This…" he gasped. "Better than anything…"

Suddenly he was thrusting into her, and Rose cried out, the double sensations of his experience and hers crashing through her mind and body. It built, higher and higher, a blaze in her loins that was echoed by an inferno in his. She was experiencing pleasure beyond anything she had ever felt before, higher and more intense than any gratification she'd ever known.

And suddenly she was coming and he was coming, and she couldn't breathe it was so intense, and he was screaming her name as he pushed into her so hard that they shifted upward on the sand, nearly off of the blanket. It seemed to last forever.

He was bowed into her, his long, lean body taut against hers for an endless second as he strained with everything he had to be inside of her as much as possible. Her legs were locked around his waist, and she could still feel her inner muscles clenching rapidly and tightly around his member. She was shuddering with the force of the experience they had just shared.

At long last, the Doctor slumped, his forehead slid from hers and his hand became limp, his fingers falling away from her temple. He rested against her, and suddenly sucked in a deep breath, as if he'd forgotten to breathe for too long. Perhaps he had.

Rose was soaked with sweat, and couldn't have moved in her life depended on it. Her legs, still locked around his waist, started trembling, and she had to drop them back to the blanket.

Wearily, the Doctor rolled from her, next to her, and flung an arm over his eyes. He was gasping, covered in perspiration, and every line of his body broadcast his exhaustion. "Rose Tyler," he panted.

"Mmm?"

"Just…" he paused and she could hear the smile in his voice. "Just, Rose Tyler."

She felt her own grin coming on. "I mean, I thought last time was amazing. But this – this was amazing! I've never done anything even remotely like that." She stuck the tip of her tongue out between her teeth and grinned cheekily at him. "You?"

"Never," he said, his voice thick. His free hand found hers and he squeezed, and she squeezed back. "I've been wanting to do that with you ever since you dressed up for Christmas with Charles Dickens."

She giggled. "So you did think I was beautiful?"

"Oh, yes," he said softly. He hesitated d for a very long time, just looking at her profile. "I have a confession, Rose."

She languidly turned her head to him. "Oh?"

He took a deep breath. "I thought we were going to die in Downing Street. And you already meant so much to me, then."

"'I could save the world, but lose you,'" she quoted.

He squeezed her hand again. "You know my people are telepathic. And ever since the war…"

Rose's eyes were compassionate as she looked at him. "I can't imagine how lonely you must feel."

"You," he said, his voice low and intent. "You came along you were so bright and good and beautiful. And you trusted me. And when I thought we were going to die, I reached out for you Rose. You took my hand, and I grabbed onto you with everything I could."

She brought his hand up to her mouth and kissed his fingers.

"Rose, you have to understand, I mean it. I grabbed onto you with everything I could." He stressed the last words carefully, and his eyes bored into hers. "I…" he swallowed, but didn't look away. "I established a permanent telepathic link between us."

She froze. "What?"

"Not like I can listen in on your thoughts," he said, rushing the words out. "It's like… like listening to someone breathe over the telephone. You know they're there, and you can hear their presence, that's it." His eyes searched hers, willing her to understand.

"My dreams," she said suddenly, her eyes opening wide. "That's when my dreams started." She sat up, pulled her hand from his. "Were those just dreams or -- or what?"

He sat, too, reached for her hand, stopped, and dropped his arm awkwardly to his lap. "I was there," he said. "I'm sorry." He couldn't drop his eyes, though he felt ashamed enough to want to.

She stared at him. "What gave you the right to do that? To make that link without my knowledge? Without my permission?"

"Nothing," he said softly. "I didn't have the right, Rose. I was scared, I was afraid I would lose you."

Tears started welling in her eyes. "So the dreams, were they just for fun?"

He shook his head and waved a hand in denial. "No, Rose, it wasn't like that. I never intended to -- to go into your mind like that, actually."

"But you did!"

"There was a knock on the door!" He said, almost wailing.

She blinked, and tears fell. "What? What door? What are you goin' on about?"

He took a deep breath, hating himself for every tear that fell. "Imagine a door between two rooms. One room is my mind, and the other is yours. The door had always been closed. When I established the link, I basically just put up the door, so the possibility of opening it was always there, the connection was there, but I had never used it. I had never opened the door."

She pulled her knees up against her chest and wrapped her arms around them. She was listening.

He started gesturing with his hands. "And one night you were asleep and there was a knock. So I -- I opened the door. I wasn't going to go through. My intent was just to check the locks, sort of. And somewhere in the back of my mind I thought that maybe you had discovered the link and were making use of it. As a species, humans are latently telepathic, though most of them repress it, and you're quite brilliant enough to develop the --" He saw her annoyed look and stopped his lecture. He took another deep breath. "And you were aroused," he managed to grind out. "I tried to shut the door," he brought his hands together to illustrate. "I tried immediately to close it, because frankly, Rose, it was… overwhelming. And I couldn't shut it."

"Then what?"

"I walked through," he admitted slowly, remembering, despising his weakness. "And saw you kissing me."

Rose bit her lip.

"And I couldn't just… watch," he said, forcing out the words. "I'm so sorry."

She chewed on her lip, her eyes downcast. She pressed her hands to her face, and he could see the tears leaking through her fingers. "I trusted you," she said.

"I know," he said. He felt something running down his cheeks and realized that he was crying, too. "I'm sorry!" His voice broke.

She lowered her hands and saw his tear-streaked face, and she looked shocked for a moment. "You didn't have to tell me this," she told him.

"No, but I did. I did have to tell you, Rose. You deserve to know. You deserve better."

"Better than you?"

He nodded.

She pressed her lips together and sniffed, and shook her head. "You stupid git," she said. "There is no one better than you, Doctor." She took a deep breath, then another. The she held out her hand. "I understand what you did. And I understand why. That doesn't make it okay, though. All right?"

He grabbed her hand desperately, and nodded. "I know. Rose, I'm sorry."

"When was the last time?"

"Just after Cardiff, with Margaret. You remember the couch you conjured in my mind?"

She nodded, and tugged him closer, and he came willingly. She pulled his head so that it rested against her chest, and he listened to her heart beating strongly within her ribs. "I believe you," she said. "I forgive you."

He wrapped his arms around her. "Thank you," he whispered. "Oh, thank you." He squeezed her. "I was so afraid."

Rose reached up a hand and started running it through his still-sweaty hair. "Afraid of what?"

"I was afraid that you would leave me," he confessed.

"I made my choice," she said softly. "I'll stay with you as long as I can. Forever."

In his hearts, the Doctor knew that her forever would be short, only a few more decades, possibly less than even that. But he would take whatever she would give him.

After they'd been holding on to one another for what seemed like years, or only seconds, for one of those tiny endless moments that crystallize in the memory, a persistent buzzing made Rose look around. "It's my mobile," she said, frowning. She stood and hopped across the still hot sand to her jeans, and fished the device out of her pocket. She flipped it open and pressed it to her ear. "Hello?"

The Doctor watched her face while she spoke, at once relieved and put out that a phone call had ended the emotional scene.

"It's Mickey," she said to him, then turned her attention back to the mobile. "Yeah? Yeah, that is weird." She paused, listening. "All right, yeah, I'll ask him. Yeah, tell Mum we're coming home." She paused again. "Love you too, mate. Later." She hung up, and looked at him. Then she raised an eyebrow and smiled. Her face was still streaked with tear tracks, but they weren't falling freshly any more.

He stood, smiling back. "Trouble at home?" The anticipation of a good adventure was delicious.

"Might be aliens taking over a school," she said, and started gathering her clothes. "He thought we might be interested in checkin' it out."

He shrugged his coat on, but bundled the rest of his clothes under one arm and the blanket under another, which sent Rose into gales of laughter. She was actually pointing at him and laughing. "Yes," he said, ignoring her mirth. "I am very interested in aliens taking over a school." He held his arm out to her and she took it, still chuckling heartily. "What's so funny, anyway?"

"You!" she gasped. "You look like a flasher!"

He peered down at himself, long limbs and knobby knees and shriveled member, all pale skin and dark hair. He grinned wildly and started giggling, too. They laughed all the way to the TARDIS.

End