Message in his fingertips.
The first time he grabbed her hand she had her eyes closed and her heart thundered in her ears, but she'd still felt something in that hard grip. It was comfort that had made her open her eyes and stare at the strange man, safety and honesty wrapped up in a warm palm and strong fingers.
Rose could tell his grip from anyone else's with her eyes closed.
Mickey's was slack and limp, and the comparison always made her laugh.
Her mother's hand had always been insistent and almost impatient.
Jack's hand was like him, flirty and confident, teasing with teeny tickles of his fingertips against her knuckles.
But the Doctor's grip was more, so much more than anyone else and the feelings he transmitted in the simple touch of skin on skin overwhelmed her.
Running through London, his palm tightly pulling her along, inviting her to help him defeat the Nestene, to join him; enticing and eager.
Comfort as he stood with her and watched the Earth float into dust particles, understanding and fellow feeling as he gripped and squeezed, once, twice, to let her know that he knew how she felt, that he understood.
His fingers entwined with hers in apology for a lost year; an almost instinctual reaching for her as they race towards the newly landed ship, lost in the heart of London and yet anchored by his gentle tug, taking her to adventure yet ensuring her safety.
It became something of a trademark for his rough, callused palm to grip hers, whether trapped in a cupboard with the threat of explosion, to drag her away from danger or to slide into the domesticity that he said he hated.
Nothing will ever feel the way his hand did in hers as she watched her father die, knowing that he was there for her and that each tiny squeeze meant that he was there, that he wouldn't let her go, that he … cared.
She thought she'd lost that when the Reaper had eaten him; thought that she'd never feel his palm in hers again and that was what had ripped the pieces of her heart to shreds.
But he'd done it. He'd taken her hand and led her away from pain, his touch promising forgiveness and a kind of love that he never had to put into words.
Time and again his thick, strong fingers had slid over her palm to entwine with her own, tips rubbing against her ring; always strong, always welcoming—home.
Then he died.
And a new man who claimed to be the Doctor stood in his place with his new teeth and hair and smile, taking away everything that was sacred to her, everything that was home.
She couldn't even get angry at him because he had tried to tell her before he left and his new eyes looked so hurt when she flinched away from him and she could never hurt the Doctor no matter what face he wore.
But then he'd reached down and taken her hand and his fingers slid over her palm before curling around her knuckles.
He whispered their code word and she'd believed it was him.
But his hands told her more than he'd ever know.
Of course, he'd been too sick for her to think on it much just then but after, once he was healed and the Sycorax were defeated and they stood in the street with the ash drifting over them, he'd held out his hand and waggled his fingers.
Rose had looked at the hand, new palm, new fingers, new nails and tendons and lines and she'd smiled weakly.
"That hand of yours still gives me the creeps."
It did. It wasn't his hand. It didn't belong to her Doctor, she didn't want to take it and feel nothing because then he would be gone and she'd be left alone.
The Doctor looked at her encouragingly and waggled those fingers invitingly.
She'd taken the hand and it curved around her palm, wrapping and cocooning her palm in warmth and comfort, Safety and honesty wrapped in a warm palm and strong fingers—a different shape and texture, no longer so rough.
He glanced down to their hands and back up to her with a clear message.
Their fingers weren't entwined; he wasn't the old Doctor anymore, he couldn't give her exactly what she'd had, but his grip promised something more.
Something different and yet just as special.
Still home, if she'd take it.
New Doctor, new grip; old Doctor, old feelings.
She gripped his hand tighter and moved in, stroking the ash away from his sleeve and squeezing back.
She got the message.