Disclaimers: None of the characters contained in this one-shot belong to me. Damn you, RTD!

Rating: Mature. Oh yes. It's in there. This is my only warning if you don't like that sort of thing.

Timeline/Spoilers: Set after Journey's End. If you have not seen that episode and do not want to spoiled (although, really, with the internet and some people having no self control, like ME) please do not read this fic. You'll only make yourself cry and I refuse to be blamed for that!

Pairing: Rose and that guy that stayed with her on the beach that one time…remember? Yeah, you do.

Waste away
I'm crawling blind
Hollowed by what I left inside
For you, just you
I'm caught in place
But I ignore what I can't erase

I will run and hide till memories fade away
And I will leave behind a love so strong

Close my eyes theses voices say
Haunting me, I can't escape
For you, just you
Time will always wait
While I throw away what I can't replace

I will run and hide till memories fade away
And I will leave behind a love so strong

I will run and hide
And I will leave behind

I will run and hide till memories fade away
And I will leave behind a love so strong

Hide - Red


She hadn't known what to feel then. He had left, without a word, silent as the breeze. Without saying so much as goodbye.

It was very…him.

The way home from Norway had been arduous, to say the least. Above all Pete Tyler was a businessman. Whatever had to be done was done to get them back to home. It had taken them the better half of a day to step foot back in London. The longest day of her life. Though not the worst.

He was quiet. Solemn. She didn't blame him but at the same time she couldn't comfort him. She wouldn't have known where to begin. And she hurt as well. Perhaps not more than he did but just as painfully. Just as heartbreakingly. The entire trip home to her place he had sneaked glances at her only to withdraw his gaze when she turned his way. And the distance between them was palpable. If she had stretched her hand out she would have run right into the wall of that distance, staring straight through to him on the other side. So far yet so close.

But not him.

She lived on her own now, a modest home that was all her own. As one of the heads of Torchwood under Pete, she supervised several projects, several workers, and was paid well enough to pave her own way. And this had been one of their undertakings when their world had started to fall apart, the walls between dimensions splintering. They had found the way and she had come through. And now the Dimension Cannon was much too dangerous to allow another trip. The walls were firm, back in place. Any travel between would tear those walls to pieces. She was back where she had started. With an addition.

With a somber goodbye to her mother who would go on home to Pete, she had looked at him wordlessly before leading the way into her home. And he had followed just as silently, his eyes taking everything in and saying so much yet very little. A lovely home, he had complimented her quietly and she had murmured her thanks. Fixed him a cup of tea. Told him he was free to do whatever he wanted. The room at the end of the hall was his if he desired it. He had. And she had left him for the night with his own key to her home. Tomorrow she would go with him to pick out new clothes, a new wardrobe. A new life.

He had thanked her once more in that soft voice that was very much not the Doctor's.

And she had gone to bed. Alone.

The next day had been awkward. Would they all be awkward? She hoped not. He had come with nothing. She had found him a spare change of clothes, daily items he would need. He had accepted them with more quiet thanks. And over a cup of tea she had listened to him shower, get ready, dress. He had declined a cup of tea himself when he had finished. And the look on his face when he had come to her kitchen table and stood beside her dressed in jeans and a t-shirt was somber. She had given him the once over very quickly, a critical eye at the clothes she had found him. Some of Mickey's old things when he had stayed over. She was thankful he had always fancied his clothes a size larger. The Doctor, standing beside her looked ridiculous in every day clothes.

And beautiful.

Her breath had been stolen from her to look at him and he'd had half a mind to lift his hand toward her face. But then, understanding somehow, he had dropped it away and had instead taken a step back, hands finding their way into the jeans pockets and hovering there politely. He'd been ready.

She hadn't.

The day had been spent finding clothes his size and staying away from suits. Especially brown suits. And no ties. They'd spoken very little throughout the day and when he'd held his hand out to her, to take several shopping bags from her in a chivalrous gesture, she had instead placed her hand in his. He'd seemed a bit surprised at that, his eyes wide as she'd glanced at him quickly before dropping her gaze away. But he had not fought her, instead holding her hand in his as if it belonged there.

And maybe to him it had. Not yet for her.

That night he'd bid her goodnight and had disappeared into his room down the hall and she had allowed him, sitting in silence at her table with a cooling cup of tea and a head of thoughts that threatened to spill over.

He had awakened from a nightmare that same night, springing up in bed with a gasp and she had heard him. Even down the hall, as if they had shared a single mind, she had heard him, had sensed it. And she had risen from her bed and raced down the hall to burst into his room. He'd been drenched in sweat and heaving and she had crossed the room to sit beside him on the bed, a soothing hand coming to rest on his shoulder. Looking at her in the light of the moon he had explained his nightmare to her, of a wolf in the forest and of a little blond girl in red who had led him into the forest but had left him halfway through it.

She hadn't wanted to think it was her and from his hoarse rambling he hadn't even painted her that way in his mind. But she knew better. She knew what dreams signified. She'd had enough of them immediately after he had left her stranded on the beach that first time years before. The nightmares first. Then the dreams.

In the moonlight, his bare frame pressed to the headboard, his breathing slowly falling back to its normal pace, they had stared at each other in silence, his lips parted, hers very much pressed together tightly. In the stillness he had lifted his hand to her face, fingers tracing the contours, as if memorizing them. She had let him, her heart racing, her back stiff. And when he had pulled her toward him she had gone wordlessly, her eyes closing as he had pressed the gentlest kiss to her cheek, his hand still holding her to him even as he pulled back and rested his own cheek to hers.

And he had said the words again, those words he had said to her on the beach. The ones his counterpart hadn't been able to say to her. Ever. Closing her eyes as he whispered them, she had bowed her head, resting it wearily against his for a long moment before abruptly tearing from his arms and leaving his room, leaving him, in darkness.

She had returned to work the next day. A long day wondering if he was fine at home. Because it was home now, for the both of them. She'd found herself warming to thoughts of him being there, of wondering what it was he could be doing on his own. Was her house on fire yet? Was he watching tv and wondering how humans amused themselves watching such pointless drivel? Was he reading? What was he reading? She didn't dare call him though. And she couldn't really understand why. Because it would have been an awkward silence after he'd said hello in greeting upon answering? Would he even have answered the ringing phone?

It was her fault in the end. She couldn't accept him. Even though she knew he would readily accept her, already had. He was in love with her as she was him. The other him. But he was him. He was. His mannerisms, his expressions. His silence. His pain. Everything she felt from him, was him. She just wasn't ready for it yet. She didn't know if she would ever be ready for it. And sometimes she wondered if things would have been better had she never dimension hopped. If she had just stayed on her world and watched it crumble. The pain of watching her world fall apart was nothing compared to the pain of knowing someone was in the room down the hall and it wasn't him no matter how much he tried to convince her he was.

When she'd returned that night she'd found him to be gone. Just like that. Nowhere in the house. Just gone. And she had promptly flipped her cork. She had torn her house apart searching for him and had then taken to the streets in search. She had called her mother and father, had searched the avenues, the businesses, the shops. All of it. And when she had returned, exhausted, she had found him sitting out front on the stoop, silent and dark as a wraith. In pure anger she had screamed at him, gesturing wildly and motioning all about. And he had sat there through it all, his face somber, not even meeting her eyes. Upon calming down and finally feeling mere relief that he was fine he had spoken dully.

"I don't understand."

She had crouched before him, gazing up at him. "What don't you understand?" she had asked.

And he had allowed his weary eyes to fall on her finally, his face gaunt. "I don't understand why you're so worried. I'm not a child."

She hadn't been able to hold back. "You have one life! One! The one you're supposed to be spending with me! What was I supposed to think, coming home to find you gone? What was I-"

"Would it have mattered?" he'd asked her gently, cutting her off. "If you had found me gone. Would it have mattered, Rose?"

She had stared at him in horror, in silent pain. And as he had gazed at her, taking in that pain, she had torn her eyes from him and had entered the house without another word. Not wanting any of it. None of it. None of the decision that the Doctor had made for her in leaving behind his double. None of the realization that she had come to take him for granted in a mere two days, this man who so much resembled her Doctor. She wanted no part of it.

He had entered after her, never speaking a word. And when she had retired to her room she had slammed the door behind her, finding it to be a childish thing to do but not caring in the least.

He was not her Doctor.

After a week of awkward conversation, of her going off to work and leaving him to do as he pleased, she'd been alerted by her receptionist that she had a guest waiting on her. She had come out of her office but the receptionist had explained that the gentleman was wandering Torchwood Tower even though he had been told specifically not to. And she had known immediately who her guest was. She'd wandered the halls of the Tower, searching here and there silently, poking her head into restricted and guest areas. He wasn't avoiding her, she realized. He was doing what was natural to him. Getting into trouble.

Entering the restricted area that housed the Dimension Cannon and its components, she'd heard his voice before she had seen him. And it was her Doctor's voice, ringing clear through the sterile corridors.

"Blimey! That is impressive, I must say," he'd been exclaiming when she entered that section of the facility. And she was not surprised that he would have found one of the very few people he would recognize in this alternate world. Good old Jake, always ready for something new and exciting. Something only Torchwood could handle. Even if it was the Doctor himself.

She'd found him standing beside the cannon itself, inspecting it, and she couldn't for the life of her ever understand where he had found a pair of specs but he'd worn them as he'd examined the cannon and then the paperwork detailing all its components, all the work that had gone into creating it.

"She was adamant, she was," Jake had been telling him as he'd flipped through the pages, a frown on his face behind his glasses. The complete opposite of the young man seeming to blur with excitement next to him. "Kept going on about how she had to go back, had to find a way back, especially with the whole world falling apart."

"Yes, she can be persuasive. And well, this is excellent work, well above what I would have expected of humans. Much more advanced than I would've given you credit for," the Doctor had replied.

And as she had stood there in silence, watching them, she'd watched as he'd found a pen on a nearby desk and had begun to scribble notes in the margins of the sheets. And as he had done so he had explained to Jake what it was he was doing, what changes had to be made. He had also explained that the machine would not be perfected anytime soon, specifically if they were running off the current model in the paperwork. Not in his lifetime. And as he had said those words she had cleared her throat and they had both turned to find her there.

She had stared at him and he had lowered the pen, returning the papers to Jake and slipping off the glasses quickly.

Not in his lifetime. The words had torn her heart to pieces. To think that the life of the man she was in love with would one day end. She'd never feared that of the Doctor. She had feared his regenerations, his change of face and body and having to accustom herself to yet another Doctor. But she had never given it full thought that he'd die and leave her alone. Even if she had screamed at him earlier that week over that same subject, she'd never given it any kind of real thought.

Coming up behind him, she had held out her hand past the Doctor as he had looked down at her in silence and Jake had deposited the papers into her hand. And looking them over, recognizing his achingly familiar handwriting in the margins, she had lifted her eyes to him and he had returned the look, somber and silent.

"You just got yourself a job here," she had told him.

They'd had lunch together, mostly in silence. But she had explained to him that she thought him well suited for the job in Torchwood. As ridiculous and ironic as it was, she'd understood that he needed to be in a place where he could put himself to think and decipher the intricacies of the dimension cannon, or the dimension hoppers they had.

She kept him away from the contruction of weapons.

And he had taken to it. There were days when she would pass through or hover outside the restricted areas and hear him tinkering away, mumbling either to himself or to anyone he worked with. And when he exclaimed jubilantly over any finding, his voice echoing in the silence of the sterile rooms, she would press her face to the wall and weep.

It was two weeks after he had started with her at Torchwood, two weeks of coming down and sitting or leaning outside the sprawling room he hid himself in, two weeks of hearing him chatter with others, of rambling on about ways to fix the cannon, of ways to manipulate energy to power the cannon in a way that wouldn't destroy the worlds, that she'd debated putting a stop to his work. She had wandered in slowly, and he always knew when she was around because the other workers would back away from him or return to whatever they should have been doing and the room would fall into silence. Not that she was a bad surpervisor. But now everyone knew who he was, if not the story of who he wasn't. And they understood she had spent two years trying to perfect the cannon only to have luck settle at her side and show her the way across the walls of the dimensions without the cannon being perfected.

He'd looked at her, his face questioning, and as she came up beside him she'd realized once more that this person, this lighthearted person at work, he disappeared when he arrived home. And it wasn't his fault. She gazed at him in silence, her eyes having run over his face and his expression had shifted, his breath quickening noticeably.

"Are you all right?" he had asked her quickly, his hand lifting to circle her arm. "What is it? What's wrong?"

"Nothing," she had whispered and she had lowered her eyes to his work, had let them roam over the workbench he had chosen as his own. All this work was beneath him and his astounding intelligence. Just so undeserving of a Time Lord's true worth. Her eyes had settled on several diagrams of the dimension hoppers and the cannon and she had tapped one of the diagrams, her lips tightening.

"Yeah," he had responded at her gesture. "Still a bit aways but progressing well, actually. I'm at a bit of a loss, can't hop over to another planet to pick up the parts I would have needed to perfect the machine. Have to make do with what I have. But it's coming along." And he had bowed his head for a second as she had looked at him. But then, feeling her eyes on him he had glanced at her and smiled cheerfully.

And she had understood then. His eyes had told her everything in that one terrible moment. His eyes had explained that he would understand if she never accepted him. That he was doing this work, trying to find another way to perfect the cannon, to allow her the chance to return to him. His other self. He did all this, all this work, to give her yet another chance. And the smile was brief. One moment wide, the next slipping away as he avoided her gaze and returned to his work, his diagrams.

She had left him then, numbly. Heartbroken. Not understanding why.

It was another two weeks after that, two more weeks of listening to him explain the particulars of time travel to others, that she had gone to him. And this time, firmly, after scattering the other workers, she had approached him, had placed a hand on his and had told him to stop working on the dimension cannon.

He had been visibly perplexed, his lips parting at her words. He had questioned why.

And she had replied, "Because I'm not going anywhere."

Only after that did she begin to see him. When she woke in the morning she rose earlier than usual, prepared them breakfast. The first morning he had been shaken by it. By her small smile as she had told him to sit at the table. She'd offered him tea and he had accepted the way one would knowing the other shoe was about to drop. They'd had breakfast relatively in silence but not for lack of trying. And he had watched her warily as she had rambled on, looking to cover the gaps in their conversation, trying too hard. It wasn't the same as it had been with the other Doctor. And that wasn't his fault. It was hers for having pushed away this Doctor before her in the entire month and a half he had been in this world with her. He had been polite that first morning, eating breakfast and listening intently as if she would give away the reason she was being so animated. In the end he had gotten nowhere nearer to the truth than when he had first started and so he'd thanked her for breakfast, had told her he would do the dishes when they got back that night from work.

Once at work she did not approach him at all. She'd left him to do what he enjoyed and only at the end of the day had they met up again to return home. This time he had been the animated one after she had parked and they had started the walk to the house. All sorts of jumbled theories she would never be able to wrap her mind around, passing mentions of places they had been to, if he could somehow harness the energy of the natural disaster that had frozen the oceans of Woman Wept to complete several of the projects he was working on. New projects he had started. She had gazed at him longingly as he had rambled on and on, his gestures manic and excited. And even the beginning rain had not dampened his exhilaration. Even when it began to pour and they were still quite a bit away from home.

This was him. This was her Doctor. And she had stopped in the middle of the street. For a moment he had been unaware and he had continued on, explaining so many things that only he could understand and it wasn't until he had stopped on the other side of the street did he realize she had been left behind. He had turned to look at her in the rain and she had merely returned his stare, a look of awe on her face.

"What is it?" he had asked her. And he had taken a step back in her direction questioningly.

A small smile blossoming on her face, she had instead crossed the street and had come up before him, a hand lifting to his face in wonder. "It really is you, isn't it?" she had asked him.

And he had whispered softly, even in the roar of the rain, "Yes."

The one word and the longing in his eyes had been enough. Out in the rain, under the cloudy evening sky, she had taken hold of him and had pulled him down to kiss him, a long overdue kiss and one that had been born that last day on the beach when his counterpart had turned and left yet again. Leaving behind this man. This gift. He returned the kiss, rainwater trailing along his face and neck as she ran her hands down. Even under the sound of the rain she'd been able to hear his very human heart pounding, uncertain but wanting it to be. Confused. Scared, even. But desperately wanting it to be true. All of it.

She had pulled away, feeling bruised from his need and without another word she had taken his hand and dragged him after her, needing to be home then, home with him. He had followed in silence, his hand a bit slippery in hers in the rain but holding on tightly, for life. They had crossed down the walk to their home, up the porch, a bundle of nerves wrapped in human bodies and she had let them in with him following silently and swiftly.

And even before the door had been closed behind him he had taken hold of her and pushed her up against the wall in the darkness of the front hallway. She had gone willingly, a gasp ripping from her but shortlived as he had kissed her once more, his hands on her almost desperate. And she had understood because right then and there, he was her Doctor. His scent, the feel of his wet hair as she lifted her hands to it and tangled her fingers in it, the sound he made as she returned his kiss frantically, as if this was all the time they would have. His breath had joined hers in the silence of the hallway, hands grabbing and pulling, and he had yanked her from the wall, staggering backward when she hadn't allowed him to fully break the aching kiss. It hadn't mattered where they had been. Taking hold of her, one hand curling around her face and kissing her forcefully, he had dragged her after him a bit, ramming into a hallway lamptable and she had known what he needed the surface for. She herself had been the one to fling the lamp aside and sure enough he had leaned forward, releasing her jaw, his hands wrapping around her thighs and hefting her up roughly onto the table. And from there it had been a whirlwind of caresses, of sighs and moans, of clasped hands and wet tangled limbs.

But she had been the one to stop them. The second she had reached for his tie, to undo it, and had encountered only a wet t-shirt, she had understood. And the realization had been like icy cold water. She had stiffened in hia arms, pulling clear out of them and ramming backward into the wall behind her, going so far as to crack her head on the surface. He had let out a breath at that, his expression registering shock and then worry as his hand had lifted to the crown of her head but she hadn't been able to deal with it, with any of it then. Not even able to feign embarrassment she had stumbled from the lamptable, pulling out of reach as he had straightened, looking so very disoriented and heartbroken.

And she had whispered, "I'm sorry. I can't. I'm sorry," before turning from him and making for her room, her comfort.

In the night she had listened to him as he had paced in the kitchen after, sure enough, washing the dishes. No doubt absentmindedly. And then he had paced the hallway, hesitating several times by her door as if to knock but then backing away. And she had realized in the darkness of her room that she had loved him. She'd loved him for being considerate of her, for worrying about her enough to want to talk to her but not enough to barge in on her if she needed privacy. She'd loved him for that.

And then he had paced for the last time before turning to his room at the end of the hallway and disappearing into it for the night.

The next morning and all the mornings after he had been cheerful and she had thanked him for not pushing her. And with that thanks she found herself able to talk to him once more. Her Doctor. Always rambling on incessantly, his manic gestures, his wild expressions and the way he looked at her in silence, his feelings for her there in his gaze. Even when she met his eyes, even if she couldn't yet return the one thing he needed, he was content to sit with her, to laugh with her, to talk with her. And he was the same man. As he'd spoken about Satellite 5. As he'd told her what it felt like to regenerate even if he would never again do it. How he'd traveled for two years with two broken hearts after he'd left her on the beach. About Martha Jones and Donna Noble. And he'd spoken of Donna regretfully, telling her only then what his counterpart had probably done upon returning to the TARDIS with her. How a Human-Time Lord Metacrisis was dangerous. And she'd had tears in her eyes when he had told her that his counterpart had probably wiped Donna Noble of her memory because it was the only thing he could've thought to do to save her life. And upon explaining it to her he had fallen silent and weary, his face dark.

She had stretched her hand out toward his and taken it tightly. He had gifted her with a tired smile.

And then it had been off to work.

When it happened, they had both been caught unaware. They had returned home and he had gone to shower, to wash the day off. And she found it endearing now how living a human life would tire him out. She had gone to shower as well but on the second floor, far enough away from him that she could stand under the spray of the shower and think in peace without worrying that she would somehow run into him. And when she had finished thinking in the shower she had come out and gone down to her room and had started thinking on the corner of her bed, facing the far wall silently. Just a moment of thought to herself feeling lost and alone.

She hadn't heard him knock on her door nor slowly come in when she hadn't responded to his knock. She only became aware of him once he was in her room. And then his hand had cupped her damp shoulder from behind and she had leaned her head back to look up at him wordlessly.

It was all it had taken in the end. All it had taken to invite him into her bed.

He'd been withdrawn at first, hesitant. Merely leaning forward slowly from behind, bending to press a gentle kiss to her bare shoulder as she was wrapped in a damp towel. And then another kiss, a bit closer to the neck, gentle. His fingers crawling from her opposite shoulder slowly toward the other side of her neck, he had pressed his mouth to the pale column of her throat. A strangled breath had escaped her, one that was almost of relief. And the sound she had made had been enough for him to want more, to need more. His other hand had come up her arm, trailing it gently and sliding up to cup her shoulder softly.

"Just stay," she had asked of him and he hadn't responded. Only his gestures and his body were answer enough. Wordlessly, but with a soft murmur he had left her shoulder to cup her jaw from behind and he had turned her face to his, brushing the softest kiss to her lips. She had allowed him, feeling his breath trail across her skin, the feel of his fingers along her jaw, his other hand whispering back down her shoulder and sliding slowly lower, needing more of her, wanting more than she felt she could give.

"Run," he had murmured against her mouth. And it had been enough. That one word. It had been enough to rip down every wall she had ever unknowingly erected.

With a whimpered moan she had returned a kiss to him, aching and needing him. Her Doctor. Needing him and only him. And he had parted her lips with his kiss, gentle and insistent, dragging her against him tightly. She had gone wordlessly, vaguely aware that the towel was loosening around her frame and not caring then. Not caring anymore. Pulling her closer, turning her into him, his hand had lifted to the knot above her breast and he had untied it, letting it fall loosely. The gesture and the sudden coldness of air against her skin had frozen her and she had recoiled from him the slightest bit, her breath heaving. He was breathing heavily as well, his dark eyes fixed on hers in the silence.

He'd been about to apologize for it, for pushing her further than she'd been willing to go. She had silenced him with a kiss, a gentle kiss, before pulling back with him as she sank onto her back on her bed. Following a bit, he had hesitated at the sight of her nude form, the towel forgotten under her.

And at his expression she had stiffened for a long moment. Then, a blush creeping into her cheeks, she had reached for the towel, whispering, "This wasn't-"

"Stop," he had murmured, cutting her off, his hand coming to rest against her pounding heart in her chest. "Stop."

"I stopped," she had said quietly.

A small smile curling his lips at her words, he had risen from the bed, his eyes drawn to her but then pulling away as he had looked down at the hem of his shirt in thought. And then looking at her once more he had come to a decision, pulling the shirt up over his head and tossing it aside before returning to her, crouching between her thighs as she had sat up once more to look down at him.

Gazing down at him as he had looked up at her, she had tilted her head sadly, suddenly sorry for everything she had put him through in the last two months. Sorry for all the silences, the comparisons. Even though the same dark eyes and wild beautiful hair had been with her, before her, for all that time, she just hadn't seen. Hadn't wanted to believe. And now, as she stared at him, a hand lifting to brush a lock of crazy hair from his forehead, he still waited for her. Still loved her.

And she loved him.

Leaning forward just as he slowly straightened, she allowed him to push her back down on the bed, taking his weight on her as he dipped his head, parting her lips with his and tasting her clear through to all she was at the center. Heartache, pain and tenderness. And the soft sound he made sent a shiver down her spine, brought her to shake longingly. Lifting her hands to his face, she refused to let him go, refused to allow him to leave. Not anymore.

He didn't fight her.

His kiss became hot and desperate and she was just as frantic, just as wild, holding him to her tightly. All of him, hands leaving his face to dig into bare shoulders, nails scraping across his back and eliciting a groan wherever she dared to trail them. He would wake the next morning with marks on his back and she didn't care. Not right then. Right then she only needed him, all of him. Physically, emotionally and even mentally. Ripping her face from his, feeling his mouth against her jaw and dragging across the tender spot of her neck, she arched against him, her head falling back as she struggled to hold onto him, nails sliding across his lean frame and he shivered in her embrace, his forehead coming to rest against her jaw for the smallest moment as his fingers curled around her bare hips achingly. She didn't know what he was thinking, she never had. Now was no different. More daunting, in fact.

"Tell me-" he managed to make out against her neck and as she allowed her head to fall back he bit into her shoulder, a rough nip, his fingers tightening on her hips. "I-"

She reached down the sides of his torso, realizing that she loved the feel of him, this new body of her lost love. Exactly like him, physically. Exactly him.

"Anything," she whispered against his ear, his hair brushing her cheek. "Anything, anything, anything-"

He made a small sound against her breast, his shoulders heaving as her hands floated further down to the clasp of his trousers. Undoing them, her hands shaking, she slid them down his hips slightly, even as his hands held her down against the mattress, fingers strong enough to bruise.

"Tell me," he whispered once more against her chest, his breath faint. "If you believe I'm him."

She fell limply under his grip, her hands trailing up to his face and floating across his jaw. "You're him," she uttered, grimacing as his hands tightened even more so on her hips, as his fingers splayed out in search of more of her. "Doctor. Doctor-"

And with the name, with the plea in the tone, he shoved into her, one smooth movement that made them both cry out together, against each other. Lean shoulders heaving, he pulled away slightly to look down at her beneath him and she was flushed, her frame rigid, her hair fanning out against the comforter under her. Releasing her hip with one hand, realizing that tomorrow she would have a bruise, he lifted the hand and trailed his fingers along her cheek, one finger brushing her bottom lip shakily. And her lips parted as his fingers dragged across them, his gaze caught by her. Merely holding himself the way he was, between her thighs, one hand still clutching her hip painfully, the other drifting across her mouth, he leaned forward, needing to feel that mouth on his, needing to drink from her almost desperately. And the kiss was frantic but no longer painful, just very powerful. His heat as he kissed her again and again, as he began to move inside her slowly at first, her body crying when he pulled away and sighing when he returned. She trapped him to her, legs winding around his hips, bringing hers up in the motion and tightening around him, bringing him to a shuddering stop for a moment, his shoulders quivering as he breathed faintly.

When she opened her eyes to gaze at him, to see the dark eyes returning the silent look, she saw her Doctor. She saw everything they had ever done together, the way he had held her hand, the embraces they would surprise each other with. The loving silences that had hovered between them when words had been useless. She saw it all in his eyes and saw it all in her mind. This was him. This was the man she had fallen in love with, the man she had crossed dimensions for. Inside and out. A gift she had been given to live out her days with, forever in his embrace, forever keeping him nestled inside her body if he would desire it.

Seeming to see all that flash through her mind in that one instant, he leaned forward against her and whispered it once more, his first important words to her, the ones that had made her choice on that beach even if in the end it hadn't really been a choice. And she turned her head to his, closing her eyes slowly as he bent his head to kiss her softly.

"Quite right, too."

And hidden in their sighs and marvels of each other was the slight undertone of laughter, one that had always been very them. And now she knew what to think, what to feel and it would be all about him, the human Time Lord in her embrace, giving his life to her unthinkingly.

In the faint light of her room she returned the words to him, allowing them to float over them forever. He didn't need a TARDIS the same way she didn't need two hearts. Just each other in the end. It was all she would have asked for.