Title: Right Here, Right Now

Author: Jinni (jinni. PG13

Disclaimer: All things Doctor Who belong to the BBC, et al.

Pairing: Rose/Ten

Spoilers: For "The Impossible Planet". A 'what if Rose and the Doctor had said a different goodbye long before she kissed his helmet'?

Summary: One hand on his chest, one hand in his hair. He was leaving her and she just wanted to know i this /i before he went.

x x x

"Don't go."

The Doctor looked up, eyes dark. Not unreadable, but not the clearest book ever. Like trying to study medical science with only rudimentary biology already in your mind. She licked her lips and waited for him to respond.

The Doctor sighed. "I have to, Rose. The TARDIS should be down there somewhere, you know that. And I need to figure out what's going on with this place. It shouldn't even exist."

She nodded, having known all along that he would say something like that. The awful thing was, she agreed with his reasons. If she'd been in his place, she'd do it, too. Figuring out what was going on was all fine and good - but the TARDIS, now that was something she could never - would never - expect the Doctor to just abandon without at least i trying /i .

And a part of her ached for the loss of the TARDIS, too. Like she'd lost a friend. Silly, because she knew - KNEW - that the TARDIS was still out there. Somewhere.

Still, with all that reasonableness in place, Rose couldn't help but want the Doctor to stay right here, by her side. To not take risks. Not when he was all that she had left.

"I'll be okay," he assured her. His hand reached up, cupping her cheek. For just a moment, Rose let herself lean into the touch. Her eyes fluttered shut and she just breathed.

"What if you're not, though?" she whispered. "What if you go down there and get killed?"

"Then I'll regenerate again. You know that. Might not be as handsome next time around, mind you."

Rose's eyes flew open. "Don't joke. Just because you've got all these lives at your fingertips doesn't mean you should go runnin' about, throwing them all away. What if the next you doesn't like me at all, what then? What if he can't stand the sight of me and kicks me off the TARDIS at the first available opportunity? What if --"

i What if this is the last chance I'll ever have to kiss you? /i she thought fleeringly to herself, wishing she could make him understand. His thumb traced her cheek, palm still cupping the skin. Her tongue came out again, tracing along her lower lip. She wanted to do that, to kiss him just in case it was goodbye. Something about this place worried her. Made her feel more hopeless than she'd felt in so long. She hadn't had a chance to say goodbye to her previous Doctor before he'd tricked her into leaving the Game Station, otherwise she was sure she would have. Would have taken that moment to say goodbye, if she even let him get rid of her at all.

That wasn't something that she was going to pass over this time. Not when she had a chance. This was all so dangerous. So new and frightening and she honestly worried that this was "it" for both of them.

So she did what she needed to.

She had to stand a bit on her toes to place her lips within distance of his. It was the fact that he didn't move away when she made it very, very obvious what she was about to do, that gave her a bit of fortification. He'd dodge, walk away, say something if he didn't want it just as much as she did.

Her lips touched his. Softly, so softly that she could still feel the warmth of his breath coming from his mouth, tumbling over her lips. With open eyes she pressed forward, watching the look on his face, waiting for the moment when he would pull away and tell her that this wasn't right, that they couldn't do this.

The moment when he would break her heart. It was inevitable, that they hurt one another eventually. The only question was when.

His lips parted willing beneath hers and Rose felt a hand - there, on the small of her back - holding her steady when her balance began to waiver. When he bent his head and deepened the kiss, Rose melted. She put her hand on his chest, clutching at his arm with the other. It was so tender, so sweet; this kiss that they were sharing. On the edge, though, she could feel something building like a storm on the horizon. Dancing around and around each other, that's what they'd done. And now there was this. This feeling of rightness, even if only for i Right Now /i .

She didn't pull away when his tongue slid along her lower lip, entering her mouth to tangle with her own. In fact, she whimpered and tried to decrease the distance between them even more. The hand on his arm fell away, coming up to his head. Fingers ran along skin, over earlobe and neck. Desperate for something. Desperate for more. She could taste him in her mouth and in her soul and it was the Best. Ever. The kind of kiss she saw on the telly, in romances she'd thought were always so full of it. Not now. Oh, not now. Now she knew what it was like to be devoured from the inside out. To feel like she was being eaten alive by lips and tongue and teeth, from her mouth to her very soul.

Hair beneath her hand and Rose held on, tugging a bit. The Doctor pressed her back. One step. Two. Three. She didn't care - couldn't care - because he was there with her every centimeter of the way. Her back hit something, the side of the corridor, and he was pressing her there now with his body, holding her head between his hands as he kissed her. Hard. Fast.

Frantic.

Rose sobbed and it might have been aloud, though she doubted it. She was falling apart in her mind. This felt like a hello and a goodbye. Their first kiss, maybe their last. And he wanted it to mean just as much as she did.

His fingertips brushed her forehead, palms holding her face steady as he held her, so gently. She wanted more and knew she couldn't have it. Maybe when this was over they'd talk about all this and what it meant.

In a flash, she saw images and felt emotions that weren't her own. The Doctor. Doctor after Doctor. Face after face. Old. Younger. Younger, still. Fashion victims and gentlemen. She saw others - Companions - and knew everything about them in the fraction of a moment. She knew all this and more. Knew indescribable loss and infinite joy. With every second that they shared breath, she knew more and more. Knew how it felt to lose a home, lose a people. Knew his terrors and his happiness. She saw herself through his eyes and knew she was Something Special. Something Perfect.

Something that he wanted and couldn't have.

Rose shook her head, but it was all in her mind. He was in her head, in her mind, and he still couldn't see. He was showing her how he felt, how he'd lived and survived. Those that he'd called friends and those that he'd LOVED. But he wasn't taking what was right there, available for him at any second.

i Love. Acceptance. If I can live with a few snatched moments in my life - why can't you? /i

The kiss softened and the Doctor's hands dropped from the side of her face, taking her hands in his own. He squeezed them and she squeezed back, savoring these last moments.

"Doctor?" someone called from further down the hall and around a corner. They didn't step forward, though. Maybe they knew that there were private goodbyes being said. Things that didn't require a witness. "It's time to go."

The kiss broke. Rose looked into the Doctor's eyes and understood So. Very. Much. She gave him a trembling smile. Had he seen and did he know?

"You really are fantastic, Rose Tyler," he murmured, pressing a kiss to her forehead.

Yes, he understood.

"I'll be back for you."

She saw in his eyes what the words meant. Maybe it was all they could have together and he wouldn't give her happily ever after.

But he had given her Right Now and was offering up those fleeting moments she wanted to happen later. For days, for months. Maybe for years. She didn't know the future. Only the present. Only him and her, right there in the corridor.

"Doctor?"

"I'll be right there," the Doctor snapped, turning to glare at the disembodied voice that was urging him to hurry. He turned back to Rose, the grin back in place. "Stay safe. We have things to talk about - things to do -" his eyebrows wagged in a comically suggestive way.

"Right," Rose nodded. She stood on her toes, kissing the corner of his mouth. "C'mon, then. Let's get you geared up to play hero, yeah?"

END