This Chapter/Epilogue is dedicated with all my love to Olfactory Ventriloquism. It's her late birthday present and she's the one who made it possible with the betaing the other chapters, and the listening to me rant, and the explaining why the Doctor did something once. It was brilliant. Point is, OV, love, there's everything you asked for in here. Everything.

Special thanks to the ever brilliant Rynne for the beta work on this chapter.

Warning: This doesn't bump the rating to an M, you've seen more on day time telly. But if you're a completely innocent young mind, or easily offended, or tired of the romance, click the back button.

Double Crossing

Epilogue: Touching and Touched

"I sorta wondered what else this bond does," Rose mused. In between bouts of kissing, cuddling, whispering, she and the Doctor had wandered down the corridor to her room. They'd gotten no further than curling up together on the bed, chaste and fully clothed and occasionally kissing each other breathless.

That seemed to be the extent of it, and on the surface, it was. Beneath the surface, where things weren't seen, the bond that existed between them, that had existed for two years now, was slowly mending. The forced separation had hurt them both, and the pain and fear of it still felt raw. Rose could still feel a slight tension headache, and the Doctor couldn't seem to stop touching her.

"Well, you saw most of what it does," he said. Ruefully, he shook his head, his hand curling lightly through her hair. "I'm sorry you had to find out like this, Rose, but I'm not sorry you found out. I know I should be, and I know you're allowed to be furious with me or not speak to me or to set Jackie on me or whatever you want, really, but please don't do it tonight. It's not that I can't seem to stop touching you, it's that I can't stop touching you - I did try, you know, but it's like..."

She stopped him with a hand over his lips, smiling a playful, silly smile. "I'd miss the babbling," she said, softly. "Like I miss the blue eyes or that Northern accent. I'd miss the babbling." She shook her head against her pillow. "But you can stop now," she added, and kissed him.

Sweet and tender and maybe just a little longer than necessary for an innocent kiss, they clung together until the need ebbed again. When they broke apart, the Doctor's tie was open and several of his buttons. Rose's zipper might have slipped a little further, also, but she wasn't sure. The point was, she could feel it clearly in her head now, the way his emotions and thought patterns sort of formed an alien love song at the very bottom of her consciousness. It was so strange, and yet so familiar at once, because it had been there so long and because she had welcomed it long before she ever knew what it was.

"I wondered... you said something about 'certain other times', when I reach for you, and I just wondered what they might be. I understand in times of stress or fear or when I'm feeling particularly in love with you for some reason, but..."

The Doctor chuckled lightly and dropped a quick kiss on her lower lip, which cut her off mid-explanation. "It may be that I'm contagious," he observed, then something in his eyes seemed to catch dark, strange fire. His hands went to the buttons on his shirt, undoing them one at a time.

Rose watched this, unable to stem the stuttering mess of thought and emotion in her head. It wasn't that she'd never seen the Doctor take off his shirt before, it was just that he'd not been in her bed while doing it before. Long standing habit had complete amusement and a flippant comment winning out over any reaction a different woman - one who hadn't been hiding love for her best friend forever - might have had. "Something wrong with that shirt?" she asked.

"S'in the way," the Doctor said, watching her, refusing to look away as he finished the final button and shoved the dress shirt out of the way.

Rose bit her lip, tried to keep her breathing calm and her hatred of his t-shirt to a minimum. To amuse herself, she toyed with the zip on the uniform jumpsuit she was still wearing, and the Doctor's eyes seemed to lock onto her fingers the instant they touched the zip tab.

He licked his lips, then started to lecture, softly. "There's really a lot of similarity between our two species. Our basic biological structures are practically identical on the genetic level. My species has got a third strand of DNA and several variants that we built into our genetic coding. However, an early Gallifreyan and an early human would have been largely indistinguishable - even with a bath - except for a few anomalies in the Gallifreyan cerebral cortex and a tendency to interpret time in a way that most species would consider odd."

Rose could tell, from learning what the link felt like in her head, that he was up to something, but it amused her to chuff in exasperation at him, all the same. Just because their relationship was on the verge of changing, it didn't mean that the essential parts that made them who they were had to change, too. "Thank you for the lecture, could you help me with the point?"

He pulled his t-shirt off over his head, and Rose didn't care what the point was anymore. In fact, if he hadn't sat up to put himself safely out of the reach of her lips, she would have decided the point was the pebbled peak of the closest of his taut, tempting nipples, and that the point belonged on her lips. "The point is that many of our biochemicals are the same, which is a good thing, under the circumstances."

Deep breath, Rose Tyler, she thought to herself. Concentrate, girl. "Why?"

"Because I want to make love to you and the only way that'll work properly is this little biochemical that females of my species produce at climax, which female humans also, thankfully, produce." He shrugged, a playful sparkle in his eyes. The soft mental buzz was bubbling like freshly uncorked champagne, all shiny and fizzy at once. "It's been very handy with my frustrations, I can tell you that, but I'm afraid the fantasizing just isn't working any more for either of us."

She should have guessed she had no privacy from him. In fact, Rose thought, she had guessed that, even fantasized that he knew more than once. But hearing it suggested... she needed clarification. "You're saying you know when I... um...?"

The Doctor's cheeks were pink and his eyes were closed when he bent to kiss her this time. Rose let him for a moment, but found she couldn't get lost in the sensation until she heard him out. She pushed him away and stared sternly into his eyes.

"All right, yes," he agreed, running his fingers through his hair and tugging at it urgently. "But it's really okay, Rose, because I can usually fantasize with you." He gave a small laugh that sounded and felt self-deprecating, like he was laughing at himself, but unamused. "We have an alarmingly detailed sex life inside my head, honestly."

"Great." Part of her didn't care how sarcastic that had sounded, or even about anything beyond the fact that he'd said he wanted to make love to her. That part of her wished he'd stop talking, wished she'd stop talking too, so they could go back to the kissing and his bare chest and her fingers which were somehow getting tangled in his fine, dark chest hair.

"No, really, it's ok," he said, as if he was trying to convince both of them. His eyes were on her hands on his chest more than meeting her eyes. He did look up, however, brown to brown, with deepening need in his eyes, his voice, his mind's touch, when he said, "I need that little chemical."

Rose found herself wondering how the front of her uniform had been opened completely. It took her a moment to register what he said and look up from where his broad hands were spanning most of the way around her waist. "Because it makes you horny?"

He chuckled darkly, leaned over her, and started nipping at her neck. Rose had completely forgotten about biochemicals or anything about the conversation at all when he murmured, darkly, in her ear, "Because I can't achieve orgasm without it!"

Rose's whole body flushed and everything froze. Time stopped, space stopped, the lilting lullaby of his thoughts stopped. She pushed the Doctor away with two small hands shoving his shoulders, so completely thunderstruck that she had to see this confirmation in his eyes. "But... Wait. You're saying you can't get off unless I do?"

He nodded hesitantly. "Is that a problem?" he wondered after a moment of her gaping at him.

Rose tackled him to the bed and climbed on top of him, straddling his hips, her hands resting firmly on his shoulders so she could look him in the eyes. "I'm keeping you," she proclaimed fervently. "You're mine, I'm never letting you go, no one else can ever ever have you." She lay down on top of him, cuddling him as closely and possessively as humanly possible. "Mine."

He laughed gleefully and wrapped his arms around her, hands tangling in her hair. "All right, if you say so. But why all this?"

"Just trust me. If human women found out about that one, you wouldn't have to worry about being studied for all your knowledge or your technical skills or your two hearts. They'd study you to find a way to put human men under the same restriction and, failing that, they'd worship you as a sex god."

"Are you gonna worship me as a sex god?" the Doctor asked, his voice gone all dark and strange and intense.

"Do you want me to?" Rose hardly recognized her own voice, either, the soft, husky, inviting sound that it made almost completely new to her.

"Might be nice," the Doctor murmured against her collar bone.

Rose pushed away from him and stared down into his eyes, hers dark and flashing and completely in love. It was an order, not a request, when she breathed, "Then convince me."

The bond flared to life first, the welcoming, all encompassing feeling of being within each other all there was in the universe for several brief or endless moments. When it backed off, there were two people on that bed, not the powerful Time Lord and his human companion, but her Doctor and his Rose, and they were so ready to belong to each other.

What was left of their clothes seemed to melt away as they traded kisses that burned and steamed, that left their thundering hearts as bare as their bodies. The Doctor's inability to stop touching Rose seemed to have extended itself into a need to be touching her every single place that was made bare to him. Rose's need to be as close to him as possible wouldn't be stayed or held back.

Wrapped in nothing more than each other's arms and the night, they moved together as if they had no other purpose in existence. Rose had never felt so in tune with a lover, knowing and trusting and even breathing with her Doctor every moment. They fell into a rhythm that was all them long before they took that final step, hips rocking together, hands entwined and learning pleasure, heat, and skin.

When he entered her body, the moment seemed to freeze, time stopping its crazy dance to give them one moment of perfect, united clarity. Their eyes met, both dark pairs wide and wild at the enormity of what they had just done. It had seemed such a simple thing, before this, for him to keep her on the pedestal he'd made for her, for her to step back and wish he'd some day come to her.

Now, as he moved within her, as she moved against him, it felt like they had been waiting for this moment far longer than either of them could understand, not even with all the time they understood between them. It felt as inevitable as tide and as natural as rain, all the same.

Heat and slickness and building, driving, questing, seeking... Soft whispers, moans, encouragement, pleas... Everything, everything drove and drove, upward, ever upward, reaching for that spiral that is the crescendo of a dance as old as the stars. Cries and whimpers and gasps and ragged breaths as they shattered and shuddered together, the height exquisite and ecstatic.

Words of love and promises, tears and startled laughter... They clung together in the heat and exertion sweat of their bodies, neither surprised it had been so devastating and brilliant, but neither able to voice all they felt.

"There just aren't words," the Doctor breathed, brushing a reverent fingertip over the mark his kiss had left on Rose's shoulder.

"Even in your language?" she wondered.

"Not even in Gallifreyan," he said, honestly.

"I love you," Rose whispered.

"Then again," the Doctor said, a delighted laugh trying to escape his lips, "those three just about cover it."

They lay there together for a long time, hand in hand, basking in the body memory that skittered like falling flower petals over their skin. Finally, the Doctor broke the silence between them, by whispering those three words of absolute truth into their private unity.

Rose smiled and nodded and, because only he could hear her, she whispered his name.

"I used to wonder if we'd ever get here," the Doctor mused thoughtfully. He was wrapped around Rose again as they relaxed in a large sunken tub.

"Here particularly," Rose asked, giving him his favorite grin, "or just here in general?"

"Well, both really," the Doctor said with a laugh, and blew soap suds into her hair. "Part of me always knew we could, but..."

Rose reached under the water to cup the part of him she suspected always knew. He yelped and then started laughing. "That is not what I meant," he insisted. He almost managed to look innocent, but gave himself away by tugging at his ear at the last moment. Rose had long since decided that she wasn't going to let him play poker with strangers.

"Your earlier self seemed almost determined to get us here," Rose pointed out.

"I shudder to think what he would have tried if he hadn't known I would break," the Doctor agreed.

Rose giggled and blushed brightly. "I'm not sure I want to know," she said.

"You have a one track mind, Rose Tyler," the Doctor accused. "No, I think it probably would have been some sort of sleight of hand. I was very clever with magic tricks in that incarnation."

"I dunno," Rose said. "Wouldn't it have made more sense to go with something unique to this you - like that oral fixation?"

The Doctor pouted. "It isn't a fixation," he insisted.

Rose was glad he wasn't wearing his trousers, as she suspected they would have burst into flame at that singularly incredible pronouncement. "Right," she said, and she almost managed to sound like she believed him. Almost. Then she sighed. "Could have combined the two, I suppose."

"What, like slipped jelly babies down your top or something?" the Doctor suggested.

Rose rolled her eyes. Trying not to laugh, she said, "Now I know what to get you for your birthday."