"You just give me five minutes, Sweetheart. I'll change the bed linens, give you nice fresh ones. Those haven't been touched in months. You just drink your tea."


But Jackie Tyler was already gone, down the hall and in Rose's bedroom. Moments later, Rose heard the frump of blankets being tossed aside. Rose shook her head and looked around the small flat. Nothing changed. Nothing ever changes. Oh, sure… a color on the walls, and she thought the drapes in the sitting room might be different…but, it was the same home she'd known since she was a baby.

It was the home her mum and dad had shared. And she realized now, after seeing the opulence and wealth that Pete Tyler had gathered in the parallel world, that this place was more of a home than anything they had.

It didn't mean that the idea of her mum dying like the other Jackie Tyler did…it didn't mean the idea didn't terrify her and make her want to cling to her mum again, hang on tight and not let go for a good long time.

The legs of the Doctor's chair scraped across the floor as he scooted closer to her, laying his hand on hers on top of the table. He leaned closer, looking into her eyes.

"I'm going to go in the TARDIS," he said softly so his voice didn't carry. "Give you and Jackie some time." Rose turned her hand over, gripping his. He laid his free hand on her cheek, smiling. "I'm just inside. I'm not going anywhere, not even going to move her.'

Rose couldn't help smiling as she looked to where the TARDIS was tucked snugly in the corner of the sitting room between the couch and the bookshelf. He conceded to Jackie's protests that she couldn't get to the front hall with the 'big blue thing' where it was, so he'd moved it a few feet. Jackie had asked why he didn't just leave it down in the alley like usual, but a shared glance between Rose and him communicated what they both felt.

Neither of them wanted her very far away.

"You don't mind stayin'?"

"Of course not. But, we will have to go some time tomorrow."

Rose nodded, already knowing why. The TARDIS was slowly rejuvenating her engines, slowly building her strength, but the voyage back through the rift had been rough…rougher than any flight they'd ever taken. And he'd touched her down on the moon for just a bit before attempting a controlled, precise landing like he needed to set her down in the Powell Estates flat.

Rose wrapped both her hands around his and kissed his thumb, resting her cheek on his hand. She hadn't asked to be brought home, but he'd done it without saying a word. He knew, and she loved that.

The Doctor stroked her hair and stood, pressing a kiss to the top of her head as he slipped his hand free, squeezing her fingers gently before he let go completely. "Come to me if you need me." One more kiss on her temple, and he stepped toward the TARDIS. "Good night, Jackie."

Her mum mumbled a good night, and based on her tone, Rose had no doubt she'd seen the last kiss, if not the last several moments. Jackie slid into the chair the Doctor had vacated, a half-hearted scowl on her face. Thing was, Rose knew that no matter how much Jackie Tyler groused and complained about him…she liked him.

A girl could do worse than a time and space traveling Time Lord, after all. Decent job, owns his own place.

Rose heard the TARDIS door close, and immediately she felt bereft. She wanted her mum, but…

"I don't know if I'll ever get used to this," her mum said, sipping at her tea and taking a biscuit from the plate on the table. She took a bite and waved the remaining bit of biscuit in the general direction of the TARDIS. "You comin' and goin', showing up in tears because of some daft place he's dragged you off to."

"Mum, don't start."

Jackie sighed and set the cup down. The two sat in silence for several moments before Jackie patted Rose's hand. "You going to be all right, sweetheart?"

Rose nodded. "It was just a bit rough, everything that happened."

"Why don't you stay for awhile? Let 'im go off and do whatever it is he does for awhile."

The idea of staying behind sent a chill up Rose's spine, and she immediately shook her head. Already, the walls of the flat were closing in and she missed the hum of the TARDIS. "No, Mum. We've got to go tomorrow. And I'm going with him."


"No, Mum. I'm going with him."

Her mother reached across the table and turned Rose's face to look at her, staring at her as if looking for something. After a few minutes, she released a long breath. "Not much I can do. You love 'im." Jackie sat back, grabbing another biscuit. "Suppose it could be worse. He loves you, too, after all."

Rose looked toward the TARDIS, and smiled.

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

2:11 a.m.

Rose sat against her cushioned pink headboard and looked around the dark shadows of her room at all the loud, obnoxious ipinkness/i of it all. She scowled and tossed a pillow toward the foot of the bed. How did she stand this? She missed her big bed on the TARDIS... correction... she missed itheir/i big bed on the TARDIS, with its red velvet coverlet and plethora of pillows. She missed the perfect softness of the mattress and the sheer draping over the massive, carved headboard. At first, she thought it was pretentious... now, she called it theirs.

With a huff, she tossed the blanket back and went to the door.

Easing it open, she glanced across the hall and saw her mother's shut door. The apartment was dark except for a faint blue glow from the end of the hall. She padded softly to the end of the hall and glanced into the sitting room. The light on top of the TARDIS glowed just a little brighter, and she smiled.

"Yeah, stupid me," she said as she approached the door. "Thought I could sleep anywhere else." She pulled her key from the front of her tank where it hung on a chain. Crouching over, she unlocked the door and stepped inside.

The soft green glow of the engines lit the console room, and Rose paused at the console to lay her hand on one of the naturally-grown bits of what the Doctor called the TARDIS coral. She rubbed her fingers across the warm knobs.

"I know now why he touches you," she said softly. "And I'll never make fun of him again."

The engine light fluctuated. Rose smiled.

She peeked briefly into the bedroom, but didn't expect to find him there. Another glance in the kitchen... with a grin at the open jar of marmalade on the counter... and she moved down the hall toward the library.

A very low fire burned in the hearth, barely enough to light the space between the fireplace and the Doctor's leather chair. A brass and glass lamp sat on a small table beside the chair, lighting the area. As Rose descended the steps, she saw his trainers, his legs crossed. A few more steps and she could see his lap, a large book open in it, one hand resting on the pages. But, he hadn't moved.

Rose walked on her toes around the side of the chair, and a warm flood of emotion shifted through her chest when she finally saw him. His elbow rested on the far armrest, his temple propped against his folded hand. His knuckles pushed his glasses slightly off kilter, and his eyes were closed. A soft snore eased through his open lips.

She tilted her head to read the text in his lap.

It is not half as innocent a thing as it looks, that shaking little pieces of carpet – at least there may be no great harm in the shaking, but the folding is a very insidious process. So long as the shaking lasts, and the two parties are kept the carpet's length apart, it is as innocent an amusement as can well be devised, but when the folding begins, and the distance between them gets gradually lessened from one-half its former length to a quarter, and then to an eighth, and then to a sixteenth, and then to a thirty-second if the carpet be long enough, it becomes dangerous. We do not know to a nicety how many pieces of carpet were folded in this instance, but we can venture to state that as many pieces as there were, so many times did Sam kiss the pretty housemaid.

Very carefully, Rose lifted his hand from the pages and slid the book from his lap. She closed the book and set it on the floor, squatting beside the chair to look up at him. Rose hadn't had a chance to watch this Doctor sleep, and she loved the peaceful, almost childlike look on his face. Holding her breath, as if it might help not disturb the perfect moment, Rose eased the glasses off his face.

He drew a deep breath, releasing it, but his eyes never opened. Rose smiled, pressing her fingertips to her mouth and then delicately to his lips. His breath warmed her skin.

Rose braced herself with a hand on either armrest, and leaned into him, touching her lips to his. She let the touch caress him, slowly drawing his lip between hers with soft suction, and when she parted her lips again, he woke.

In a tick, he was kissing her back, and the slide of his tongue into her mouth flooded her senses with arousal, and she hummed softly against his lips. His hands came up to hold her head, and moving together, Rose stepped back and he stood from the chair, the kiss never stopping.

"I needed you," she said, tipping her head back so she could see his eyes, her chin still touching his.

"I hoped you'd come."

Her skin tingled and her eyes fluttered shut when he nipped and kissed his way down her throat to her shoulder. One perfectly placed hard kiss against her pulse point nearly buckled her knees, and she threw her head back. His hands skimmed over her sides, cupping her breasts for far too short of a time before pulling her hard against her.

Rose's frantic fingers found the buttons of his jacket, and as dizzy as she was from his kiss, she managed to get the jacket unbuttoned. She pushed it off his shoulders, starting down his arms, when he suddenly jerked back.

"No! Wait."

"Wha…?" she asked, breathless. "Wait? Why?"

The Doctor smiled, a devastatingly sexy curving of his lips that made Rose quiver. He slid his hands up her back beneath her tank, his face brushing against hers as he held her gaze. "Trust me. If I'm right, and it's hardly ever that I'm not, it's worth it."

All Rose knew was that she wanted him.

Which is why she groaned loudly when he took her hand and led her toward the stairs. The library worked just fine for her. It was, after all, the place they'd made love the first time. Right there in front of the fire… she glanced back, and another flutter of arousal shifted through her.

"Remember I said we needed to talk more about the TARDIS?"

"You want to talk about that now?"

They stopped half way up the stairs, the Doctor one step up from her. She couldn't help herself from curling her fingers into the waistband of his trousers, and was rewarded by the clenching of his jaw before he leaned over and kissed her. He slid his finger between their mouths to break them apart. "No distracting me. That's not fair."

"All's fair in love and shagging."

He laughed, but continued back up the stairs, pulling her along. "You told me the TARDIS appeared to you. To talk to you."


"Had you communicated with her before?"

They reached the hall and he led them directly to the bedroom to stand beside the bed. He turned to face her, standing close enough that the lapel of his jacket rubbed across her breasts, making them ache with the want for more.

"Rose… have you communicated with her before?"

She managed a nod. "A few times." Rose couldn't resist the urge to attempt again to push his jacket off his shoulders. She grinned when he didn't argue, and as she slid the sleeves down his arms, leaning in to brush her nose against his prominent Adam's apple.

The jacket dropped to the floor and she immediately went to work on the brown silk tie, wiggling the knot loose. His hands settled on her hips, his fingertips brushing the bare strip of skin between the top of her pyjama shorts and her tank.

"When was the first time, Rose."

She smiled against his neck as she slid the tie free of his collar. Wasting no time, she started unbuttoning his shirt. "In the library."

He hissed softly when she slid her hand inside his shirt, the sparse hairs on his chest tickling her palm. "I didn't mean that first time, Rose."

Rose chuckled, enjoying this game… talking and undressing at the same time. "Neither did I. The first time was in the library. After you regenerated." She pulled back enough to look into his face. "I came to the TARDIS, hoping to find some way of helping you. I asked her to help me." His brown eyes watched her intently even as his fingers skimmed her skin, inching the hem of her tank up her body. "And she did."


"She gave me the journals." His jaw clenched, but she didn't pause in unbuttoning his shirt. With all the buttons free, she tugged the tails from his trousers and leaned in to press a kiss to his breastbone. The pressure of his fingers increased against her hips. "She told me her link with you was dying. She wanted me to fix you."

"You heard her?"

Rose nodded, meeting his gaze as she tugged the shirt free of his wrists. "Yeah. Pretty clear. In my head. She's demanding when it comes to you." She slipped her fingers inside the waistband of his trousers and slid her knuckles all the way around his waist to the buckle. His abdominal muscles tightened beneath her touch, and she wondered just how long he'd be able to keep up this multi-tasking.

"Tell me more."

"I hear her. I see her. I feel her." She decided as she worked open the buckle of his belt that he wouldn't let it go until he heard everything. "The night we fought in the library—"

"She wanted us to stop," he finished.

Rose nodded, feeling the prickle of tears in her eyes again at the memory of the sad desperation. "What's all this mean, Doctor?"

Before answering, he bent his neck to kiss her, gently but firmly. His hands moved up her sides, taking the tank with them, and when he pulled back, he took the shirt off over her head, leaving them both bare to the waist.

"It means, Rose… that unlike any other companion I have even traveled with, you have the ability to communicate with my machine. Whether it's because of what happened at Satellite Five, or whether the ability was always there and just took some time to present itself, you are…" He smiled widely, skimming his hands over her arms to rest on her shoulders. "Absolutely amazing."

"Ship," she corrected. He tilted his head. "She doesn't like it when you call her a machine. She's your ship. Your beautiful ship."

The Doctor nodded, smiling with a pride that lit his eyes. "Quite right."

Rose leaned into him until their skin met, sending a flush through her, and worked down the zipper of his trousers. He looked down at her, his grin crooked and his eyelids heavy, as she pushed the trousers and pants beneath past his hips to pool around his feet. Holding her in his gaze, he toed off his trainers and kicked the clothes aside. In turn, he slid his hands beneath her pyjamas, his fingertips pressing into her bottom to hold her closer to his skin.

"Was all this waiting just to tell me I was amazing?" Rose wrapped her arms around him, reveling in the skin on skin contact, sliding her hands up his back until she felt the dual heartbeats.

"No." He touched her face, his fingers tracing over he cheekbones, her temples and through her hair around her ears. His eyes tracked the points of contact, and his lips tipped up in a tiny smile - almost a smile of wonder, and she wondered just what he saw when he looked at her like that. "Rose, my people… Time Lords, not all of Gallifrey… gave up the physical aspect of love centuries ago."

Rose smirked. "You could've fooled me."

He smiled and kissed her, but for not nearly long enough. Her body ached for him, craved him… needed him. "Yes, well…" he said against her mouth. "I never was one to subscribe to the party line, as they say. Time Lords were selected, bred, more or less created, so physical intimacy became unnecessary. It actually became a bit of a taboo, because of potential procreation outside the strict structure of the Council. Probably why they disliked me so." He mumbled the last bit a little under his breath. "I rather like physical intimacy. But, Rose Tyler, you're getting me off point."

"Oh, please…" Rose clenched her hands against his bottom, pressing his erection to her stomach. "Get to the point."

The Doctor half-growled/half-laughed, and with a squeal from her, crouched to slide his hands down the back of her legs and scooped her up, lifted her off her feet to collapse them both on the bed. With a final kick or two, Rose shed the pyjama bottoms and he moved over her, settling his weight between her thighs. Rose shifted beneath him, but he didn't seem ready to finally ease her ache.

He leaned on his elbows, so he could brush her hair away from her face. "The point is that we found other ways to feel intimate with someone if we chose to. We joined with our minds, not our bodies." As if in response to his own words, he shifted over her, and Rose groaned at the friction. "The point is, Rose? I think we can do both."

"What does it mean? What would happen?"

He smiled, seeming happy with her question. "We would be like one person, Rose. Our thoughts would mingle. We'd share sensations and emotions. It's the most intimate kind of connection, and Time Lords only shared it with those people..." His smile softened and he studied her. She loved it when he looked at her like that. "It's like making love with the mind. We didn't share it with just anyone."

A hot wave flashed over her skin, pooling like ice lava in her lower body. At the same time, a pleasant catch hit the center of her chest, an invisible hand wrapping around her heart. "You want to do that... with me?"

"Oh, yes," he answered quickly. He kissed her, and she could tell that he'd only intended it to be a brief contact before going on, but his mouth returned to hers nearly the instant it left and he kissed her deeply, his tongue filling her mouth. He rose over her, his body rubbing along hers, and Rose's stomach fluttered at the soft sound of pleasure that rumbled through his chest into her mouth. He reluctantly stopped kissing her, but balanced the chisled edge of his chin against hers, looking down at her as their breath mingled. "I've thought about this before, but it would have been one-sided and not a true mingling if you didn't have some sort of latent psychic ability."

"You think I'm psychic?"

"Well... not psychic, really. You're not going to go around reading minds, or anything. But, you communicate with the TARDIS directly, and that's not possible otherwise."

Rose blinked, staring at him. It was a lot to process, and with his naked body against hers, brain functions were not a priority. He shifted, just a hair, and the rush of sensation made her eyes flutter. His gaze shifted away, focusing on his own fingers as they stroked her hair.

"It can be frightening, Rose, not like anything you've experienced before. We don't have to try tonight, or ever." His gaze came back to her eyes. "I will be happy to share your body from now until... forever," he said with a smile.

"We're together, yeah? I won't be alone, ever."


"Then I won't be afraid." She touched his face, stroking her thumb across his lips. Rose laced her fingers into his hair and pulled him down to her for a long, deep kiss. He slid against her again, and her fingers curled, tugging slightly at his hair. She pushed her head back into the bed, breaking the kiss so she could make eye contact. "Will you answer a question for me first?"


Rose licked her lips, hoping she didn't completely mangle the words she wanted to say. "Cusa Ju Bibilia'a."

The Doctor sucked in a sharp breath, his eyes widening. "Where did you?" But his voice trailed off, and she knew he'd realized where she'd heard it. "Did she tell you what it means?"

"No, she only said that to her, that is what you are. That's what I want you to tell me."

"It means Beloved." His voice was rough when he explained. "It's the most precious name you can give another."

"Cusa Ju Bibilia'a," she said again, curling her neck up so she could kiss his cheek, first one then the other. "Tell me what to do."

"Just trust me."

"I already do, Doctor."

With his gaze locked on her, the Doctor finally ended her agony and slid inside her. Rose's breath hitched and her eyes fluttered, but she didn't look away from him. She expected him to touch her temples, or her face, like she'd seen in Star Trek and psychic shows, but he didn't. He just moved over her, pushing deeper into her. Rose's senses sparked, her skin vividly alive.

"Don't close your eyes. Just look at me."

It was so easy, Rose feared she did it wrong. She focused on him, on the proud look in his eyes as he looked down at her, and released a long breath. As the air left her lungs, the world faded away and nothing was clear but his face.

You are beautiful, Rose.

His voice whispered in her mind, so clear and so beautifully, she wouldn't have known it wasn't his actual voice if she hadn't been watching him. Electric bubble danced up her spinal cord, exploding in her mind like the cork on a champagne bottle, and Rose gasped, clinging tightly to him. He stroked her cheeks and kissed the corner of her mouth as she tried to catch her breath. Panic threatened to burst in her chest as every sense seemed to multiply by ten.

We can stop this if you want.

Rose shook her head. It was terrifying, but in the best possible way. Like riding the most intense rollercoaster in the world. Flipping upside down and screaming through the corkscrew made her blood effervescent and her breath catch, but it was too good to stop.

Her heart pounded, and swirls of color danced in her peripheral vision, flashes of starlight and nebulous clouds.

Focus on every cell, every point of contact between your body and mine.

The awareness built slowly, first with an intensifying of the sensations. His hands stroked her skin, his lips kissing her neck and jaw, but with each brush of body to body, her breath caught. He groaned, and she felt the shift of every tiny hair on her skin his breath disturbed. Rose clung to him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and drawing her legs behind his thighs to hold him closer. Her fingertip brushed a spot on his back, and she laughed despite the barrage of intensified reality.

Love the mole.

Speaking without words seemed natural in this state, she just reached out to him, and her own voice echoed in her mind.


It was her name, but Rose heard in it so much more than just the vowel and consonants that designated who she was. It was a prayer, a declaration, a shout. Light flashed, and Rose felt the scream in her throat. She shook her head, letting him know when she couldn't that it was okay. Rose reached out further, and submerged herself in his touch.

Oh, god!

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

The Doctor drew in a deep breath, his senses immediately filling with the smell of shampoo and velvet, and Rose. He blinked his eyes open, and found himself looking into her sleeping face. They lay facing each other, and Rose's hands where tucked beneath her cheek, a small smile still curving her lips. Rumpled blonde hair fell across her cheek and her cheeks glowed a healthy pink.

He inhaled again, reveling in the contentment —and dare he think it? — happiness he couldn't, and didn't want to, shake.

When she told him about the TARDIS, he had wondered if the mingling of their minds was even possible. And the idea of making love to her at the same time, that had been just a "Why not?" kind of thought. Things weren't done that way, had never been done that way, as far as he knew.

It was official. He was the luckiest Son of a Bastard, in this or any other universe.

He'd reached into the mind of others, he'd read their thoughts when he needed to, like Madame du Pompadour to discover why she was of such interest to the Clockwork Men. She'd touched some of him, but only as much as she could skimming the surface. And that was just facts, points of character.

Rose had touched his soul. And he'd touched hers.

And she was beautiful.

Rose's hand slid from beneath her cheek and shifted across the sheets, touching his chest. Her palm laid flat against his breastbone and he held it there, waiting. Moments later she opened her eyes and her smile widened as she drew in her first deep breath of the day.


The Doctor grinned widely and leaned toward her. She lifted her head off the pillow enough to meet his lips. He settled back onto his pillow and brushed her hair out of her face. "Hello."

Rose scooted closer to him, tugging the blankets and sheets away so their bodies touched, their still blessedly naked bodies. "Can I just say…"


She laughed softly, nuzzling into his neck. "That's a start, yeah." Rose pulled back quickly, looking at him. "Was that supposed to happen?"

"Which part?"

Beautiful color bloomed in her cheeks and she stuck the tip of her tongue through her teeth. "The part where I could, like… feel you feeling me."

The Doctor slid his hand beneath the covers and draped his arm over her waist, pressing his palm against the small of her back to bring her closer. The sheet rustled softly, and he realized it was probably one of the prettiest sounds in the universe.

Except for the hitched gasps that one Rose Tyler emitted when her orgasm was about to take her.

"I don't know," he finally answered. "I told you that the connection would let us share with each other. But, as far as I know, no one has ever done it and done what we were doing while we did it."


"Time Lords don't shag," he said with a pompous tone, jutting his lower jaw out with his eyes half-closed.

Rose laughed, combing her fingernails through the sparse hairs on his chest. She rolled onto her back, scooting even closer into the space between him and the mattress. Beneath the blankets, he settled his hand on her stomach below her bellybutton.

"You were beautiful," he said, trying to speak softly to hide the catch in his voice. "I've never seen anything so beautiful."

She reached for him, but just as their lips brushed, the faint echo of pounding at the TARDIS door reached the bedroom. Both of them groaned, sadly remembering that they weren't on some isolated moon or floating free in the Vortex. They were, in fact, parked in Jackie Tyler's flat.

"I'll go see to your mother." The Doctor reluctantly tossed back the blankets and swung his legs around to set his feet on the floor. "You… do whatever you do…"

"Tell her ten minutes," Rose shouted over her shoulder as she jogged naked into the bathroom.

The knocks came again, and he heard Jackie's shrill voice but couldn't make out what she said. He yanked open his wardrobe cabinet and grabbed a pair of deep blue silk pyjamas, not willing to go through the hassle of finding all the parts to his wardrobe scattered on the floor. He threw on the shirt and grabbed a dressing robe from a hook by the bedroom door as he left the bedroom. By the time he reached the console room, he was tying the belt of the robe.

"I'm coming, Jackie! I'm coming!" He yanked the door open, the smell of breakfast immediately hitting him. His stomach growled almost instantly. "Yes?" he tried to say pleasantly.

"Took you long enough!"

"I was in…" He paused, swallowing, realizing what he was about to say, and also realizing it was too late to say anything else. "Bed."

Jackie crossed her arms, glaring at him, and he wondered just how far he could get into the depths of the TARDIS before she caught him and slapped him… good and hard. After a few excruciatingly long moments, Jackie sighed and attempted not to glare.

"I've got eggs and soldiers. And coffee. You like white or wheat toast?"

The Doctor cleared his throat. "Wheat, please. Thank you."

Jackie started to turn, but stopped and looked back to him. "Tell Rose to hurry along. She's always been slow to start in the morning, and I don't want breakfast to get cold."

He smiled, nodding. "I'll hurry her along." He waited until she was back on the other side of the flat before closing the TARDIS door. The shower was running when he went back to the bedroom. The Doctor stood in the doorway of the bathroom, watching Rose beneath the steaming spray of the massive shower.

"Your mum says to hurry along. Breakfast is just about done."

She turned and looked at him, sweeping her wet hair back from her face. "Then I suggest you get in here quick. Quicker with two."

"Oh, I don't know about that."

They managed to join Jackie for breakfast before the eggs were too cold, and there was plenty of marmalade for the toast. Jackie had a talent for making excellent coffee, and he made sure to tell her so. Her looks in his direction were frequent, and he didn't quite know whether she wanted to hug him or hit him. He even helped Jackie clean up while Rose stood in the kitchen doorway and smiled, watching them.

He looked over his shoulder at her once, and she pressed her fingertips to her lips, blowing the kiss to him. The last time they'd been in this flat, he'd been a 'new' new man… and he'd seen the shadow of doubt in Rose's eyes.

For weeks, they'd taken two steps forward only to stumble back. Sometimes, small steps, sometimes huge. Finally, they were walking side by side. Later, when he prepared the TARDIS for flight and Rose had said good-bye, she stood beside him at the console and he glanced at her.

"How long are you going to stay with me?"

She leaned her head against his shoulder. "Forever."