Disclaimer: As much as I would love to, I really don't own it.
Genre: Romance, fluff, teeny tiny bit of angst.
Rating: M – for sex and romance. Please take note :)
Summary: "Everything is from the stars," he tells her. "We're bound to them more closely than you can imagine. It's where everything came from and it's where everything will go back to, in the end."
A/N: I realise it's been ages since I posted anything here, and I apologise for that. My muse ran away and still hasn't fully returned. But anyway, over a year after the first two parts were written, I bring you the sequel to "Symmetry" and "When the Universe was Sleeping," although it isn't necessary to have read those to understand this. This was written for and beta-d by 'grey lady of gallifrey,' so much thanks are due to her!! Enjoy the story!! Jen xx
He steps up behind her and places his hands on her arms, his breath disturbing her hair as they stand together and watch the alien sun disappear below the horizon to turn day into night. The first of the evening's stars begin to break through the dusky sky. "Beautiful," he whispers against her ear.
She smiles softly and nods. "Yeah, it is."
His hands slide down her arms to lace his fingers with hers, holding their arms slightly out to the sides so that the wind rushes past them, making them feel as though they are flying. She imagines that they could soar straight up into the sky, into the deep swirling blue above their heads, and lose themselves in the stars and escape the bounds of time. She knows that time will always be too short for them, that it will never be enough. But they have here, and they have now. She is determined that they will make it count.
She turns to him, her features softened and her hair backlit by the dying light. Her eyes meet his. "Doctor," she breathes.
His eyes are dark as she raises one hand to cup his cheek, rubbing softly at the delicate skin just below his eye. She thinks for a moment how his boyish freckles belie his age. She thinks that they add to the façade he works so hard to maintain. Her thumb drops to touch his lower lip, soft and oh-so-tempting. She meets his gaze, and wonders how it is that the simplest of looks from him has the power to make her melt.
She pushes herself up onto her toes to press her lips to his, still trying to comprehend the fact that she is allowed to do this, that she can kiss him and know that he wants it too. He kisses back, one hand still held in hers and the other coming up to tangle in her hair, tugging softly at the blonde strands as she nips lightly at his bottom lip. They are still tentative in exploring their newfound intimacy, and usually she would be pushing for more, trying to drive it forward. But the delicacy of it all, and the fact that it is him, makes her want to savour this, and resist the urge to let any of it slip away too quickly. She doesn't want to waste a single moment.
And so she pulls away after only a minute, turning back in his arms to lean against his chest and look out at the vast alien landscape. There is nothing to break their view of the horizon. Everything is exactly as the universe intended it. Pristine. Unspoiled.
"Do you ever think," she says quietly, "that we're really small? Tiny, even."
He doesn't answer, but she feels him smile against her hair. His arms wrap around her waist, her anchor in time.
"It's just… compared to this," she gestures around them, "we're so insignificant. There's just so much, there's more that exists than anyone can imagine. It makes us seem small."
"Definitely not insignificant, Rose. And not so small, really," he tells her. "In size, maybe, but not in impact. You're right, there is so much." He lowers his head to whisper in her ear, one hand curving round to brush her cheek. "And can't you just feel it?"
Yes, she can feel it. She can feel the rush of the ground beneath their feet, the power of the stars above them and the warmth of the setting sun. She can feel the ebb and flow of time. She knows that this is exactly what he feels. He has shown her this before, when the universe lay sleeping around them, how this is what it meant to be at one with the rest of existence.
"Every little move, every breath," he continues. "Every little breeze has its impact. All of the little components add up to make the whole. Nothing is so small that it doesn't matter." His lips brush her neck. "And this," he says, "this thing we have, it's… it's so…"
She smiles when he fails to think of the right word to describe exactly what it is that they have. "Fantastic?" she guesses.
He nods and plants another kiss against her skin. "Exactly. Absolutely fantastic." He sighs as she lifts a hand to scratch her nails against his scalp. "Rose," he groans.
She holds his head against her shoulder and looks up. The sky is coloured in great swirls of blue and pinky-purple and tangerine, broken by tiny diamonds of pearly light. His mind touches hers and she feels the pull of the universe. Hey again, she whispers into his mind.
Hello. "We are not small, Rose," he says out loud. He pulls back, turns her around and smiles at her, eyebrows quirking upwards in that way that always makes her heart skip a beat and wonder what he's thinking. He has that look in his eye that means he's about to show her something new, and he knows that she's going to love it. He holds out his hands and she takes them in hers, fingers wrapping together. He grins at her, gives her a little wink. Let me show you.
"Anything." She will oblige him anything he asks of her.
Having the whole planet literally to themselves, he knows that there is no chance of them being disturbed. The Doctor is having trouble keeping the smile off his face as he looks at Rose standing before him, backlit by the setting sun and twinkling stars beginning to shine through the wispy strands of her hair. He hasn't felt so content in a long time, and that in itself is enough to unnerve him. He feels… comfortable. He hasn't felt like that in a long time, either. He thinks once again of the impact Rose has had on his life, all the little alterations she has made – mostly unconsciously – that add up to one great big colossal realisation on his part: he can feel happy, and he doesn't have to feel guilty because of it. He has spent too much of his life feeling guilty.
"Symmetry, Rose," he murmurs as he holds her hands in his, caressing the soft skin with his thumbs. "Remember?"
She smiles and nods. "Aesthetics," she replies, referring to their earlier exploration of human anatomy.
He leans close to her, his breath on her face as he whispers, "I never finished that lesson. There's still more." He kisses her cheek and looks into her eyes. He allows a slightly playful look to cross his face. "I think we should continue your education."
She studies him for a long moment, looking at his face in the way that she always does when she is thinking hard, considering something. He knows that she is remembering the events on the beach, remembering the passion that had frightened her and halted that line of exploration. Eventually a seductive smile passes over her face and her eyes darken. He feels her burst of desire through their link.
"I think we should, too," she replies.
Lie down, he gently commands her with his mind. They sink to their knees on the soft grass surrounding them, the colour of laurel in the darkening night. He coaxes her to lean back, taking off his coat and placing it beneath her head as she complies, a small smile on her face. "Seem familiar?" he questions.
The smile on her face widens. "Yeah," she says breathily. "You and your practical demonstrations."
"Ah, now there is a reason for that, Miss Tyler," he tells her in his 'Doctor-ish' lecture tone. "You're far more likely to retain information if you are actively involved in the learning of it." He dips his head to whisper against her mouth. "I'm simply being a good teacher."
She shifts her hips on the blanket of the grass, unintentionally brushing against his legs. They both give a little shudder. "Doctor," she says.
"Besides, it's more fun this way," he tells her.
"Good." He smiles down at her, and then, Shall we begin? He is aching to touch her. He spreads his body out beside hers, leaning up on one elbow so that he can see her face. He rests his free hand on her stomach, bunching the fabric of her shirt in his fingers; crumpling it up and then smoothing it out as he slips his hand up beneath the material and onto the smooth skin of her stomach. He wills all of the tension out of her with his mind. Relax.
She does relax, her eyes slipping half shut and watching him dreamily. He doesn't think he will ever get used to her looking at him like this. He isn't even sure if he will ever be able to get used to her. Humans, usually so simple and predictable, and yet Rose Tyler just keeps on surprising him, surpassing expectation. His hearts thump in reaction to the trust she is placing in him.
"We're made of stars," he says by way of introduction. "I told you before – do you remember?"
She nods. "You told me on the beach," she says. "The zinc in our hair and the calcium from our bones. It's all from the stars."
"Some of them are pairs," he tells her, "joined together by the force between them. Binary stars." He moves closer to her and looks into her eyes, hoping she will understand his double meaning. He lets his breath drift over her face and her eyes slide shut. "So beautiful," he whispers.
The slight crease that appears in the centre of her forehead lets him know that she is unsure as to whether he is applying that sentiment to the stars or to her or perhaps to the whole notion of creation in general. He smiles in response and places his lips over her frown, smoothing down her skin as his hand slips a little higher under her shirt. He draws back after a moment as she opens her eyes and turns her head to look at him, their gazes locking together. Her eyes burn as bright as any star in the sky. He remembers her the way she once was, surrounded by golden light and dazzling gold shining in her eyes, holding more power than even he could imagine, killing herself to save him. That one act alone tells him that her impact on time and space has been nothing less than extraordinary. He can still see minute flecks of that power within her, dancing in her eyes like stars.
"Everything is from the stars," he tells her. "We're bound to them more closely than you can imagine. It's where everything came from and it's where everything will go back to, in the end."
"Symmetry again," she says quietly.
He nods. And don't you think there's something amazing in that? "It's always about symmetry," he says, "except when it's not."
"That's a cheat's answer," she teases him.
"Who's the teacher, Miss Tyler?" he grins.
She pouts, lifting her arms and wrapping them around his neck, drawing his body over hers until he covers her like a shroud. "But what exactly are you trying to teach me?" she asks.
He contemplates this for a moment, wondering just what it is he is trying to tell her. He decides that ultimately it doesn't matter; she will listen no matter what. All he cares is that this time – this small shard of time taken from a much bigger whole – lasts as long as possible, that they get the most out of it as they possibly can.
"I'm trying to teach you about power," he says finally. He dips his mouth to hers, pausing when their lips are a mere hair's breadth apart. "I'm trying to teach you how to let go and just feel."
His lips brush hers in a teasing kiss, tickling lightly but not giving quite enough pressure to satisfy. I think I already know how to do that, she informs him as her growing need for him floods into both of their minds.
But do you? His tone is questioning, and he cannot suppress his grin when her hand moves to cup the back of his head, holding him close to her as her tongue slips past his lips. His amusement turns to a sharp burst of arousal as her tongue brushes his and she pulls his hips against her with a press of her hand on the small of his back. In the back of his mind, he is aware of something building between them, something pulsing at the edge of their connection. He knows that she can feel it too. Just feel, he tells her. Don't be frightened.
He brings his hands down to skim over the skin of her waist, brushing gently over the curve of her hips and then coasting over the skin between. Her hands slip beneath his suit jacket to splay over his back. "Doctor," she whispers against his mouth.
Angel, he speaks into her mind, conjuring up an image of her with wings on her back, flying through the air away into the heavens. He takes her hands in his and rests them on either side of her head, thumbs stroking her palms as he lifts his head to look down into her eyes. "Be with me," he breathes, hope in his voice and his hearts thumping wildly with the enormity of what he is requesting of her.
She watches him, starlight reflected in her eyes. Her features are soft and relaxed in the warmth of the night, the tranquility of their current state. Letting out a long breath, she smiles and fills his mind with images and projections of all the emotions and suggestions his words give her. "Yes," she replies softly, and her smile widens with his answering array of movies in her mind.
She feels as though she is soaring. She feels almost weightless as the Doctor shows her an image of the two of them lying together, bodies entangled on the grass. She sucks in a breath and has a sudden realisation that she wants more than anything to make that picture a reality. She knows that he is thinking the same thing as his lips begin to drift softly over her face and his hips pulse lightly over hers. "Please," she gasps. Please.
His answer is to press his lips more firmly against her cheek and slide his hands down her arms to slip beneath her shoulders, hauling her upper body against his. She holds onto him, gripping his arms and turning her head to kiss him properly.
This kiss is explosive, and it is laden with the prospect of becoming more, of finally being barely a whisper away from where they have been moving towards since they met. She supposes that it is inevitable. Inevitable and amazing. She can't tell whether this passionate kiss constitutes part of his lesson, but even if it doesn't she decides that it is an education in itself. She has so rarely seen the Doctor come undone, that to have him breaking wide open in her arms as he gives in to the impulse to lose himself in her body and her mind is almost overwhelming. Almost. She is determined not to be overwhelmed by this, but to give herself completely to him and live the experience as fully as she can.
Their tongues brush together softly, easing away any nervousness that may have been waiting to cast a shadow on the beauty of their union. She relearns the taste of him as he drinks her in, revelling in the way their mouths move together, challenging each other for supremacy as they do every day they are together. She feels safe in the knowledge that they will always meet each other half way.
She can feel the soft grass against her back where he has pushed up the hem of her shirt to graze his hands over her bare skin. A gasp catches in her throat at the combination of beautiful sensations and she moves her mouth away from his to study his face. Her hands move carefully over the perfectly crafted contours of his cheeks and his jaw, around the delicate skin of his eyes and down the long line of his nose. She learns him in a way she once thought she would only ever be able to dream of.
He catches this thought and smiles. "Nothing is impossible," he murmurs.
"The Doctor does dance," she replies with some barely contained awe.
His smile widens. "I think it's safe to say that he definitely does, when the right situation presents itself."
She quirks an eyebrow. "I'm guessing that this would be what qualifies the 'right situation'?"
He looks contemplative for a moment before burying his face in her neck and saying, "Oh yes," then latching his mouth onto a sensitive stretch of flesh.
Good. She takes advantage of his momentary distraction to hook her legs around his and roll them so that it is he who lies beneath. As a look of happy surprise spreads over his face, she trails her hands down to his chest, scratching lightly through the layers of fabric to make him practically purr.
Caught up in a sudden need to touch him - to really touch him - she pushes at his jacket. He helps her, leaning up so that she can pull the material away from his torso and then tug it down his arms before discarding it somewhere next to his head. His tie follows quickly and then she smoothes her hands down his chest to rest over his twin hearts, feeling their comforting pulse against her palms and smiling at yet another example of the symmetry he seems so keen to educate her in of late. His hands come to rest on her hips, fingers toying lightly with the strip of skin where her top has ridden up. She sits up, straddling him, and then looks down at him beneath her. It is a heady feeling. She can feel his arousal growing between them and feels the answering rush of warmth deep inside her own body.
She doesn't think that anything could be more perfect than this moment. All around them are glorious swirls of colour, darkening slowly as night sets in. The starlight illuminates his face and reflects back from the depths of his eyes. The intensity with which he is staring at her makes her cheeks flush. She knows that he will be able to see it despite the dark.
Her breath quickens as he slowly tugs down the zip of her top, opening it and then sliding it off her shoulders. She shivers not from the cooling air but from the look of dark want in his eyes as he gazes at her newly revealed skin. It makes her feel powerful; knowing that she has done this to him, that she is the one who can make the Oncoming Storm want. It reminds her of the pull of a star, the way the two of them are drawn to each other. She thinks she understands a little bit more what he meant when he told her he wanted to teach her about power. She thinks she understands more clearly the reasons why he is usually so reluctant to let people close to him; she can well imagine the pain of losing so much, of a gravitational centre being pulled away to leave him in a spiralling freefall. She can see now why he compares them to the stars; it's all the same, in the end. But she still doesn't understand why he would choose her above all others.
Don't think, he implores her with his mind. He soothes her with his thoughts, letting her know that they can talk on another day; tonight is all about sensation, about letting go and simply learning to feel.
Damn the consequences.
He grasps the hem of her vest top and pulls it over her head before she has time to process that he has done it. They both smile as she looks down and gives a little "oh" of realisation. She begins to undo his shirt buttons, trailing her fingers over his skin as she does so. He pushes up into her touch, letting his contentment wash over them both. Rose, he speaks inside her mind. Rose.
"I'm here," she whispers, lowering her head and placing a delicate kiss at the base of his neck, scraping her teeth lightly over the little nub of bone there. He groans out loud.
"Rose," he says. He takes her face in his hands and looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. It makes her feel needed, not just wanted. If you weren't real, he whispers into the space between their minds, I would make you up, just so that I could have you; just so that you would exist. Rose…
Tears prick her eyelids. A lone tear slips down her cheek and he leans up to kiss it away, brushing her hair back from her face and looking deep into her eyes. She brushes her nose along his and then kisses him, willing him to feel all of the love she holds for him. She isn't sure if either of them will ever be able to say the words. The words seem strangely inadequate, somehow, as though 'love' is too simple a concept to define what they have but since she can't think of a better word, she wants to make sure that he knows anyway. And she knows without asking that he feels the same.
His hands move to her back, releasing the catch on her bra and then moving it away from her body. She thinks that she should be feeling self-conscious, but instead she feels calm and desired, as though this moment was written into the fabric of the universe right from the beginning of time. The Doctor's gaze on her makes her feel like a goddess.
"You are so beautiful," he tells her, and she blushes.
"So are you," she whispers honestly, reverently, and he blushes too. She knows that, for all his intelligence, he has trouble comprehending exactly what it is that she sees in him, for he knows that she doesn't just mean his body. She isn't quite sure how she should begin explaining it to him, or if she should even try.
He tightens his arms around her and then rolls them again so that she is looking up at his face surrounded by milky white stars. His arms leave her for a moment as he pulls off his shirt and then his shoes, followed quickly by her shoes, but then he is back, surrounding her with his presence and filling her mind with his love.
"Doctor," she breathes as his hands move down her body to brush the tops of her thighs. Her own hands caress his bare back, making him arch into her touch and push their hips together.
His arousal is growing between them and she senses his need – echoed by her own – to be rid of the remaining barriers to their union. Seemingly of one mind, they both reach to remove each other's trousers at the same time. They struggle for a moment in a tangle of hands and legs before he grasps her wrists gently and pulls them up to his mouth, laughing softly at their clumsiness. He kisses her pulse points and then places her hands on the grass above her head. "Let me," he says, a soft question in his eyes.
She doesn't have to think twice. "Yeah," she says. "Anything." I'm yours.
He smiles. "All mine," he murmurs softly as his hands release the catch of her trousers. He slides down her body and presses a kiss to both of her hipbones, giving the flesh a little nip when she moans lightly and pushes up into his mouth. He wraps his hands around the fabric separating her skin and his hands, eager to explore, and gently tugs it down her legs, caressing her skin along the way.
He kneels between her legs as she lies naked before him, incongruous warmth and shivers coursing through her body simultaneously as he looks at her and trails his hands over her curves. It isn't enough. She reaches out to him, keeping her eyes on his as she removes the last obstacle between their heated flesh. And then his body is sliding along hers, skin slick and slipping together as the passion grows.
Time passes as they learn each other's body with the knowledge of where this is going, of what they will become. In their shared mind, the pressure begins to build, a deep red colour washing over their joint consciousness that makes them both groan. This was what had scared her before – the intensity of emotion and the experience that made her feel ill at ease. But this time he smiles down at her as though he has been expecting it, reassuring her with a single look that all is well, that this will be nothing less than exquisite.
Let it flow over you, he tells her inside her head. Let it carry you. I've got you.
And I've got you, she replies, holding him close. She knows that he needs someone to hold him just as much as she does, if not more.
It could be mere minutes or several long hours later when their hands finally join at the side of their bodies damp with sweat and trembling from intimate touches and gentle caresses. She can feel the sensitive folds between her legs pulsing with need, and she can smell the scent of sex on the air. Their bodies are perfectly aligned, his back arched slightly above her lithe form and his forehead resting against hers. My Rose, he speaks into every crevice of her mind. The red passion inside their minds darkens as she watches his pupils dilate until his eyes are almost completely black from watching her. She feels as though liquid gold is rushing through her veins instead of blood. This moment feels so precious.
My Doctor, she replies as he poises himself ready above her.
A minute later and he is buried deep inside her body, their minds completely meshed together. In her last coherent thought before letting herself be swept up in the storm of passion, she sees at last the utter perfection in the symmetry created by their joining. The beauty of two becoming one, of binary stars lighting up the sky with a single light, of two halves of the same whole uniting.
They both gasp at the intensity of their union, their every breath, every move, every touch in perfect alignment with the other. As he begins to move within her, he shows her the utter perfection of such an exquisite coupling, the way every feeling, every caress is intensified when mirrored by a lover. So perfect as to almost be painful. The way tears leak from their eyes as they move together in a timeless rhythm that is as old as the universe itself, the ultimate act of creation and life. She thinks she finally understands the importance of symmetry.
He withdraws slowly and then slips inside her once more, resting against her when he is buried all the way in, completion surely not more than moments away. The powerful red intensity crackles between them like a string about to snap. Bright flashes of colour seep in around the edges. It is like a cleansing balm, making everything so much brighter and pure.
Her vision is awash with a strange shimmering auburn and she knows that his is too as he arches into her one last time and they reach their crest together, crying out in ecstasy, the deep claret melting away like candle wax to leave a gentle sheen of gold on both of their minds. Their bodies are trembling as they come down from their shared high, tears on both of their faces and deep emotion in their eyes.
And now she understands. She understands what he was trying to teach her about the power of what they have. It was the joining of their timelines, the interconnecting of their existence for all of eternity. The Oncoming Storm and the Bad Wolf. The realisation is like soaring through the stars. She almost sobs at the joy of being connected with him so strongly, so permanently.
And now, as their racing hearts begin to slow and he lowers his head to rest against her chest, she realises something else. "Doctor," she says quietly so as not to disturb the fragile perfection of the moment.
"Rose," he whispers back, placing a kiss against her breastbone.
"I understand," she tells him. "I know what you mean. I know how to feel."
He smiles against her, silently questioning her with his mind.
"It's not just physical," she says. "It's in here as well." She touches both of their temples to prove her point. "It's more than just a hand to hold."
It's that I want it to be your hand I hold, he breathes into her mind. "I can teach you all about it," he says out loud. "I can show you how to make the most of it."
She knows what he means. He is referring to the differences between them. Before this, before him, she didn't know that it was even possible to feel as close to someone as she does to him. But he can teach her how to evolve that closeness, because being with him is so much more. He can show her how to realise the potential most humans don't even know that they have.
They lie together for a long time beneath the night sky bejewelled by the diamond-like stars. After a while he turns onto his back and tugs her to rest against him, wrapping his arms tight around her body to shield her against the coolness of the night. She can smell the grass as she turns her head to look up at the dark sky.
He follows her gaze. "I've been chasing them all my life, Rose," he tells her. She looks at him. He looks back and smiles, hooking a lose strand of hair back behind her ear.
"Doctor," she prompts when he fails to say more.
He tightens his hold on her and his voice is a reverent whisper when he speaks again. "Rose," he whispers. "I think I've finally managed to find my star."