The Doctor strode down the stairs and into the main bar area. Tomas and Lars were standing close together in the corner, and jumped apart when he came in. He looked at them, with one eyebrow raised, but didn't say anything. He just tilted his head in the direction of the main door, and they nodded and left the building.

He walked over to the table in the centre of the room. Five shotguns were still stacked against the side of the table. He reached out and took one with a look of profound disgust, then opened it to check it was loaded. Then he went behind the bar, and stood in front of the trapdoor, looking down at it.

He bent down and grabbed the iron ring, and heaved it open with one hand. A series of snarls and growls echoed up through the hole, but it was as if the Doctor didn't even hear them. He jumped down into the darkness without a seconds hesitation

He landed in a crouching position with a heavy thud, but managed to keep his balance and straighten up. The cellar was windowless, but a small amount of light filtered down through the open trapdoor above his head, and he could see the bulky shape of the possessed dog in the corner. It was staring at him and making an unpleasant, staccato snarling noise. It sounded like an rusty saw being dragged across the edge of a tin bath.

"Shut up," said the Doctor in a low voice. The creature glared at him, but did as it was told.

"Oh, you're a clever one, you are," said the Doctor, with a grim smile. "But you see, and this is the important thing. You're not as clever as me: I'm VERY clever. Old, too. Old and clever, that's me!"

He brought the gun up to his shoulder, with a wince of distaste. The Halvmørke retreated deeper into the shadows, watching him.

"I hate these things," he said. "Guns, bombs, weapons. All that stuff. And the annoying thing is, I could have recalibrated my sonic screwdriver to transmit a frequency that would have driven you out of Rose's body just like that." He snapped his fingers, and the creature flinched and growled. "Could have saved the life of that dog you're in at the moment, as well. But I've not got a sonic screwdriver anymore. No TARDIS either. But do you know what I have got? Rose. And she is SO much more important."

He flicked the gun's safety catch off.

"And you know what you did? You nearly killed her. Tried to take her away from me. And that was a VERY bad move."

He pulled the trigger. The gun thundered in the small, enclosed space. It was deafening. Pieces of plaster fell from the ceiling and smoke filled the air. When it cleared, the dog was lying slumped in the corner, dead. He looked down at the gun and then threw it to one side, repulsed.

The Doctor reached into his suit pocket, pulled out a pair of cheap looking 3D glasses, and put them on.

"Still got these though," he said, and smiled. It was the same suit he had been wearing that day in Torchwood Tower, when he'd shown Rose the 'Void Stuff', and he wasn't in the habit of ever emptying his pockets.

With the glasses on, he could see a dark shape hovering in mid air above the dog. It was constantly twisting and changing, morphing itself into a variety of hideous, disturbing shapes. They didn't bother him one bit though, he'd seen far worse things over the years. It hesitated for a second, and then darted towards him. He just held his hand up, and it froze. It was scared of him, but he could also see that bits of it were starting to break away and disintegrate. It needed to find a new host, and soon. It moved forward again.

"Don't do that," he said, calmly. It hesitated for a second, then edged forward. "No, REALLY don't. That would be a very bad move on your part. You see, you know how humans are so emotional? You hate that, don't you? Being inside them with all those memories, thoughts of people they care about, friendship, feelings of love? Well, Rose had twenty-three years worth of those feelings. They were pretty intense feelings, but still."

The Halvmørke was moving closer again, clearly desperate now. It's outline was vibrating wildly as the Earth's magnetic field and other natural forces played havoc with its ability to hold itself together. It was hovering a few inches away, from his face, but the Doctor didn't move.

"Just twenty three years worth of feelings and memories, and it was torture to you, agony." he leant forward so his face was almost touching the Halvmørke. "So just imagine what NINE HUNDRED YEARS worth would feel like," he said with a growl. The thing flinched, and retreated. Then he heard it's voice filling his mind.

What else am I to do? I'll be torn apart.

"There are still the Old Ways," he said calmly. The Halvmørke just hissed in his mind.

I won't use them. They pass through the Kodaira dimension. It is too painful, it twists my essence. There is no space, no light, no reality! It's agony!

"Believe me, that's nothing compared to how you'd feel inside here." He tapped his head, twice, with a grim smile.

The thing hovered for a second, then appeared to make a decision. It hissed again and then began to fold into itself, coalescing and collapsing inward until it was a tiny black speck hovering in mid air, then, with one last defeated snarl, it winked out of existence.

The Doctor whipped off his 3D glasses with a broad grin.

"I'm VERY good!" he shouted.

"Doctor?" shouted a voice from above. He saw Rose's head appear in the square hole above him.

"Hello!" he said cheekily. He grinned again, even more widely. She smiled back worriedly.

"Are you ok? Is it gone?"

"Oh yes!" he said, with an exuberant laugh. "It's probably passing through the Kodaira dimension as we speak, and I hope it hurts. Is there a ladder up there, by any chance?"

"Hang on!" her head disappeared, and a minute or two later she lowered a long, wooden ladder into the hole. He climbed up it. She watched him emerge from the cellar, looking incredible, tousled and triumphant. She laughed, and flung herself into his arms. He wrapped them around her, hugging her tightly, then pulled back and gave her a deep, passionate, incredibly happy kiss that made ever single part of her body tingle (some more than others). They pulled apart and she laughed joyfully, and took hold of his hands. They just gazed into each others eyes in silence, there were no words to express the way they were feeling, the dazed, amazed, overjoyed look on their faces said it all.

The Doctor and Rose sat in the back of Tomas's old blue car, speeding along the same forest track they'd travelled along that morning. It was dark, but the car's headlights illuminated the path ahead and the full moon shed enough light to see by. Jackie was in the front passenger seat, although she was being uncharacteristically quiet.

Rose was asleep with her head resting against the Doctor's chest. He'd taken his jacket off and draped it over her. He had his arms around her, and a incredibly contented, peaceful look on his face. Jackie turned round to look at him. She'd never seen him look so calm and happy. She remembered the intense, furious state he'd been in when that creature had been inside Rose. The contrast was amazing, it was like the difference between a deadly, storm-wracked ocean and a child's paddling pool. He caught her looking at him and smiled.

A few minutes later they pulled up in the clearing. The Doctor looked out of the window, and laughed incredulously.

"Whooo! Who did that? Tomas, was it you?" Tomas looked round, and shook his head, smiling.

"It was the whole town. They wanted to say thank you." The Doctor laughed again, then gently shook Rose awake.

"What is it?" she said, dazed. "Where are we?"

"Just look," said the Doctor, quietly. She peered out of the window.

The forest clearing had been transformed. Hundreds upon hundreds of candles surrounded the gently steaming pool in the centre, and a parallel line of candles linked the pool to the cabin they'd been inside earlier, marking out a little path. The windows of the cabin glowed welcomingly, a fire had been lit inside and candles had been set in the windows.

The effect was stunning, the whole clearing looked like something out of a fairy tale. Rose fumbled for the door handle, her eyes still fixed on the sight in front of her, and got out of the car, her mouth open. The Doctor followed her, then reached down to take her hand. She looked up at him.

"Is this a dream?" she asked. He could see a thousand points of light dancing in her eyes.

"No," he said with a smile. "It's real." He kissed her, then he heard the car's engine start. They both looked round. Tomas had turned it back towards Nordstrøm and was clearly about to set off, but Jackie was still in the car. Rose looked at her mum quizically.

"Where are you going?" she asked. Jackie wound the window down.

"Back to the pub, of course!" she said with a smile. "I reckon they'll be having a bit of a knees-up, you know, to celebrate. Wouldn't want to miss that! I've not had a night out in ages, not since Tony came along. I'll stay there tonight."

Rose just looked at her mum, her eyes full of gratitude. Jackie smiled, then the car set off, and she waved. Rose and the Doctor waved back, until the car rounded a bend in the path and disappeared out of sight.

They walked over towards the pool, hand in hand. Dimly, far to their left, they could see a square patch of dark earth, which was all that remained of the burnt log cabin. Even the ashes had been taken away. They kept going until they reached the rocky edge of the pool. Steam rose from it, looking ghostly and delicate in the candlelight. Rose laughed.

"This is all a bit Lord of the Rings, isn't it?" she said.

The Doctor chuckled.

"No elves though," he said. "Well, not any more. They headed off to another planet, oooh, about fifteen thousand years ago now."

"Shut up," said Rose. "It was just a story, that fella, what's his name, Tolkien. He made it up!"

"Nope! I met him. Got a bit drunk one night in a pub in Oxford. We ended up talking and I might have been a bit less guarded than usual, on account of all the beer. Thought he was drunk too, but the crafty sod was faking it. Wrote it all down and passed it off as a work of fiction."

"Shut up!" said Rose. "You have GOT to be kidding me!"

"Are you calling me a liar?" said the Doctor, trying to look affronted but as he couldn't stop smiling, it didn't really work. He looked so cute that Rose couldn't resist leaning in for a kiss. He moved forward and met her lips with his own, gently. He brought up a hand to stroke her hair, and she gave an almost cat-like purr of pleasure, and parted her lips, allowing his tongue access to her mouth. She slid her hands up from his lower back to his neck and up into his hair, running her fingers through it sensuously.

She was beginning to learn where he liked to be touched, well, apart from the obvious places of course. He groaned as she played with his hair, tugging on it. She moved forward slightly so that her body was pressed up against him. He felt her shiver, and pulled back.

"You're cold," he said. It was a statement rather than a question. She nodded. They both looked down at the steaming, hot pool of water next to them, then looked at each other again. The Doctor had a decidedly wicked grin on his face. She suddenly realised what he was about to do and stepped backwards, her hands upraised, laughing.

"Don't you da..." she didn't get the chance to finish. He strode forwards, wrapped his arms around her then span round, swinging her round with him. He teetered for a moment on the edge of the pool, then fell backward, pulling her with him. They hit the water with an almighty splash and went under.

He surfaced first, laughing, and whipped his head around, sending a spray of droplets flying out into the night, then ran both hands through his hair, pushing it back from his face.

She bobbed up a second later, her eyes were scrunched closed and she spat out a mouthful of hot water, then gasped. She dragged her arm across her face, then opened her eyes. She glared at him, trying to look cross, but just couldn't keep a straight face. So she splashed him instead.

"I can NOT believe you just did that!" she said.

"Oi!" he said, backing away to avoid the tidal wave of water she sent in his direction. "I don't know why you're so annoyed. I was just trying to warm you up. You were cold, and now you're not! Problem solved!"

"Yeah, well I had another way we could warm up in mind...and it didn't involve jumping into a pool of water fully clothed!" she said, managing to somehow bite her lip and grin at the same time.

"Oh really?" he said, looking amused, not to mention aroused. He swam closer to her, but she let herself float backwards, out of his reach. He made a little frustrated noise in the back of his throat, and she laughed.

"But you see, now I'm in here, I'm actually enjoying it. So you'll just have to wait!" he groaned theatrically, and sank down into the water so that only his head was visible. She laughed, and did the same, then closed her eyes.

The water was perfect. Hot, but not too hot. She could feel it soothing away all her aches and pains. She sighed with pleasure.

She felt, rather than saw, the Doctor swim around behind her. She felt his arms slide around her waist and he gently pulled her backwards against him so that she ended up nestled comfortably between his legs. He had one arm wrapped round her, his hand on her stomach, and he let his other hand rest on the top of her thigh. They were in a sitting position, backed up against the side of the pool, a few feet away from the little waterfall.

He rested his chin on top of her head, and stroked her leg gently. She made a soft 'mmmm' noise and wiggled slightly, then smiled when he felt him press his lips against her wet hair and moan. She wriggled again, pretending that she was just trying to get comfortable, and she felt his arm tighten around her waist, pulling her against him. His breathing was heavy and ragged.

Her stomach tightened and fluttered with nervous excitement, and she felt her heart start to beat harder in her chest. It was really going to happen, finally, after all this time. She moved against him again and he brought his other hand up from her leg, and gently traced it up and down her side.

She suddenly couldn't wait any longer, delicious anticipation was one thing, but she'd waited for much too long already, they both had. She stood up, water cascading down her body, and turned around to face him. He was still sitting, looking up at her with an intense expression of desire on his face. His eyes were burning into hers, and she didn't flinch away from his gaze, enjoying the way his eyes roved over her body hungrily, drinking her in. Her pink t-shirt was moulded to her skin: the water had made it semi-transparent, and she wasn't wearing a bra. He was staring at her breasts, hopelessly, helplessly turned on.

"Rose," he whispered, his voice sounded strained and ragged, heavy with arousal. She just reached her hand out to him, and he took it, then stood up. They just stood there, facing each other, waist deep in the water. He looked deeply into her eyes, and saw the same desire that he was feeling reflected in them. He put up a hand to stroke her face and then looked into her eyes.

"Are you sure?" he asked quietly. She just nodded and smiled, then gasped as he closed the gap between them and thrust his mouth against hers, kissing her fiercely. He put everything he had into that kiss, and she felt the sheer depth of his desire. His love for her was so full of fury and power, it was as if a dam had burst. His hands went to the back of her head, pulling her closer so he could kiss her even more deeply. She felt his tongue enter her mouth roughly, hungrily. His hands descended, running down her back to cup her bottom. He lifted her up, and she wrapped her legs around his waist and put her arms around his neck.

She squeezed his waist with her thighs, urging him on, and he growled into her mouth, but didn't break the kiss. If anything, he kissed her even harder, and Rose felt herself completely dissolve. She lost any capacity for rational thought, her heart was beating so hard and so quickly that she felt like it was going to explode. She felt heat begin to steadily build between her legs in an aching, throbbing pulse. Then, slowly, he began to move across the pool to the steps on the far side, still kissing her. He paused to shift his grip on her, and as he did so she slipped lower.

Her hips were suddenly level with his and she felt his hardness press against her, and she gasped. She pulled her head back, looking up into his dark, smouldering eyes. She felt heat flood her body. How often had she dreamed of this when she lay in her bedroom in the TARDIS? And now it was really happening...her vision clouded and she had to close her eyes for a second, afraid she might pass out.

They reached the slippery steps that had been cut into the side of the pool beside the little waterfall and he reluctantly put her down. She took his hand and led the way, climbing up in front of him. He loved the slinky, sensuous way she moved, her black trousers skin tight, moulded to her...

"Oi, are you looking at my bum?" she said, with a little laugh.

"Mmmm," he said, "can't really help it. It's right there, so cute and round and..." he reached out with his free hand and gave one cheek a firm squeeze, making her jump and lose her footing. She slipped on the mossy steps and fell backwards, but he caught her easily and lifted her in his arms, carrying her up the last couple of steps. He had one arm underneath her legs, and was cradling her against his chest with the other. Her face was just below his, looking up at him. He kissed her, and carried her along the candle-lined path, leaving wet footprints on the ground behind him. Water dripped from Rose's clothes and put out a couple of the candles as they passed.

They reached the front door of the cabin, and the Doctor nudged it open gently with one foot, then carried her inside. The significance of this wasn't lost on either of them, and they looked at each other and smiled.

The cabin had been transformed. Every speck of dust had been removed, and the wooden surfaces and furniture inside had been polished to within an inch of their life. A fire was burning in the stone fireplace, and someone had stacked a pile of wood in a crate to one side. There was a table in the corner, and it was piled with food and drink. There were vases of flowers and candles everywhere. The air was warm and smelled of beeswax, perfume and pine resin. It was lovely.

"Wow," said Rose, looking round, still cradled in the Doctor's arms. He carried her over to the fire, and gently laid her down on the soft, fur rug in front of it.

"We need to get you out of those wet things," he said, with a smile.

"Right back at ya," she murmured. She propped herself up on her elbows, her eyes drinking him in, tracing the contours of his body, clearly visible beneath the soaked T-shirt he was wearing that clung to him in all the right places.

He grinned, and then leant forward and kissed her again, ran his hands down her body until they reached the bottom of her T-shirt and gently lifted it, pulling it upwards over her head and throwing it into a corner. Then he looked down, and the sight of her took his breath away. She was lying stretched out on the rug, the fire casting a golden, flickering light over her half-naked body. He exhaled once, suddenly, as if he'd been winded, and she saw that look flicker across his eyes again: a smouldering, burning look which made an answering heat flood through her body.

He leant forward and kissed her neck gently, then her collarbone, running his tongue delicately along the ridge it made beneath her skin. She shivered, and her nipples hardened, gathering themselves into little peaks. He kissed the swell of each breast once, softly, and then ran his tongue along the valley between them, before delicately brushing one nipple with his lips. She cried out, and clutched at his back convulsively. He took it into his mouth and sucked, and she made unintelligible, animal noises of pleasure and ran her hands through his hair. Then, he suddenly realised he hadn't been paying them equal attention, and switched to the other one. She gasped and arched her back.

"You taste so good," he murmured, captivated by the sweet, milky taste of her skin.

His fingers travelled to the waistband of her trousers, then he paused, twisted and reached backwards instead, tugging off her wet shoes and socks roughly, then reached for her waist again, only to find that she was one step ahead of him and that she'd already undone her top button.

"Hey," he growled, swatting her hand away. "That's my job!"

His heart was racing in his chest and for the first time in his life, (all nine hundred years of it) he felt dizzy. Although he was pretty sure he'd feel dizzy even if he still had two hearts and the ability to bypass his respiratory system. The the way he was feeling was almost too intense to bear, it was as if he was burning inside. Also, he was so hard that he had begun to ache, a dull throb which was almost painful. He saw Rose glance down at his crotch and lift her eyebrow. Then she looked up at him and gave him a look that was so nakedly lustful that he almost lost control.

"Rose..." he said, his voice husky with desire. She lifted her hips and he hooked his fingers under her waistband, and slowly peeled off her trousers as if he were unwrapping a present. He was groaning with need, and once they were clear of her feet he hurled them aside and moved on top of her, kissing her deeply, claiming her. His soaked t-shirt made contact with her dry skin and she shivered, and interrupted their kiss to tug it roughly up over his head.

Once she'd pulled it free she threw it behind her, and reached up to wrap her arms around his neck, pulling him down on top of her and meeting his lips with her own in a deep, searching, sensuous kiss that was different to the rough, possessive, hungry way they'd been kissing up until then. It was a kiss of love, assurance, and trust, and he felt the fire inside him die down, just a little. He relaxed into her arms and became suddenly gentle, kissing her slowly and tenderly. He lifted himself up slightly, as he suddenly realised he must be half-crushing her (although she hadn't complained).

She continued to kiss him, and as she was doing that she traced her fingers lightly across his bare chest, stroking and exploring his body. He was so toned and firm, with a slight sprinking of hair between his nipples that travelled down towards his stomach. She traced the descending path of it until she reached his waistband. He groaned. Gently, she undid his belt, and then his fly, and edged his trousers down slightly. He pulled back and looked at her, then grinned.

"Rose Tyler," he said, in an amazed tone of voice, then he chuckled. She totally understood how he felt. She felt exactly the same way. It was incredible that they'd managed to finally reach this point, crossing whole universes just to see each other again. She thought of everything they'd been through together and smiled back.

Together they managed to get his trousers off, although there was a few seconds of confusion when he realised he was still wearing his soaking wet trainers, and he had to lift himself off her for a moment to turn and undo them. He threw them out of the way, and his trousers followed a second later.

They looked at each other. Rose was lying on the rug, wearing nothing apart from a rather skimpy pair of blue lace knickers, and he was kneeling between her legs in a pair of plain, black boxers which were under a great deal of strain.

Rose sat up, and kissed him, then she slowly ran her hand down his chest until she reached the waistband of his boxers. He made a noise that was half-groan, half whimper and she broke the kiss and turned her attention to his neck, then kissed his ear, putting her lips up against it.

"I love you," she whispered, and then she slipped her hand inside his shorts.

They both gasped as she took hold of him. The touch of her fingers there almost sent him over the edge, and he groaned. She was amazed by the feel of him, so hard and hot against her palm. She moved her hand up and down, gently. He was so much bigger than she'd expected. Those baggy suits of his had been hiding an amazing secret. He gasped, took hold of her wrist, gently, and lifted her hand away. She frowned for a second, but then he moved backwards, and she saw that he was about to take off his shorts. Her stomach tightened.

"Allow me," she said, her voice trembling with barely surpressed desire. He froze, and she slid her hands over his bottom, pushing them down over his hips so that he suddenly sprang free. Her eyes lit up, and she reached out to take hold of him but he just shook his head, and she saw that smouldering look on his face again. He trailed his hands down her sides until they reached her hips, then seized her blue lace panties and tore them off. Then he slipped a gentle hand between her legs, groaning when he felt how wet she was.

She cried out, the touch of his hand was almost more than she could bear, she was so sensitive down there. He moved to lie on top of her, needing to feel her body against his.

"Rose," he murmured, his mouth against her ear. She wrapped her arms around him. He continued to stroke her and she felt a delicious ache beginning to build between her legs, then it spread across to her hips and belly and she knew she wouldn't last much longer.

"Doctor..." she gasped. "Please..." He looked into her eyes, they were filled with passion and need. He moved his hand away and kissed her, then gently brushed his thumb along the contours of her inner thigh. She moaned, and opened her legs for him. He moved between them, and she felt him pressing against her.

"Yes, yes..." she said in a whisper. Her hands slid down to grab his hips, and she pulled him towards her, urging him on. She felt the pressure increase as he pushed forward. She spread her legs wider, and lifted her hips. He edged inside her slowly and she cried out. Despite her wetness, she felt him stretching her. He was so big...

She hadn't been with anyone for over four years, not since Mickey, and her body wasn't prepared for the sheer size of him. She felt a tight, burning sensation for the first few seconds, but it quickly faded. He pressed forward again, and she lifted her legs up and wrapped them around his back, drawing him deeper into her.

The Doctor gasped as he thrust into her, she was so incredibly tight. His whole length was buried inside her now and he stopped moving, lying still, giving her body a few seconds to adjust. He could feel her inner walls pulsing around him, it was incredible, amazing. Then, he began to move again: slow, gentle strokes that made Rose gasp with pleasure. She lifted her hips in time with his, matching his rhythm perfectly.

The Doctor's eyes were locked on hers, and she just looked up at him. His eyes were so dark, and serious, and beautiful. They were both moaning in unison now, and he lowered his head to meet hers, kissing her deeply, his tongue entering her mouth. She caressed it with her own, and he groaned.

Her whole body trembled, and she began to move more quickly beneath him. He sped up, increasing his pace to match her own. Rose's hips began to buck wildly, and she turned her head and cried out. He felt her tighten around him, and he began to plunge into her even harder.

"Oh God!" she cried. "Yes!" she was so close now, she couldn't even breathe, but she could feel him getting even harder inside her and she tried to resist her orgasm, wanting to wait until he was ready too, but was thrusting into her so quickly...she screamed again, and raked her fingernails across his bare back.

"Rose," he gasped, and then he came. The sensation of him coming inside her pushed Rose over the edge. Her thighs locked tightly around his back, squeezing him. She was screaming, thrashing around and crying. Her hands were buried in his hair and she was pulling it without even realising. She was dimly aware that she was biting him, although he didn't even feel it. He was still buried deeply inside her, feeling the throbbing pulse of her orgasm.

His arms trembled once, convulsively. He suddenly lost the ability to hold himself up anymore, and collapsed on top of her. She burrowed her face into the gap between his neck and shoulder, nuzzling into him and he rolled slightly to one side, drawing her against him, his arm underneath her, cradling her.

The candles had all gone out, and the fire had burned low. The embers cast a soft, red-gold light over them both. Rose's whole face was glowing, she looked radiantly beautiful. He couldn't take his eyes off her. He smiled, realising that he was behaving like a lovestruck teenager, then leant forward and kissed her gently.

"You ok?" he said.

"Mmm, never better," she said with a grin. He laughed, and kissed her again. She burrowed deeper into his arms and let out a contented little sigh. He kissed the top of her head lovingly, and closed his eyes.

"Rose Tyler, I love you," he whispered. he felt her stir in his arms.

"I love you too," she murmured.

She fell silent, and he assumed she'd drifted off to sleep. He'd just started to doze off himself when he heard her voice again and opened his eyes dazedly. She looked up at him.

"So about these Old Ways…" she said. He sighed. He'd hoped she might have forgotten.

"Oh Rose, I'm sorry. But what good would it have done if I'd have told you about them? Even the TARDIS couldn't survive a trip through the Kodaira dimension."

"Yeah," she said, looking up, her eyes twinkling, amused. "But you're forgetting that the Kodaira dimension is also a Reimann sphere: a one-dimensional complex projective space. If you were to use a hermitian vector bundle of sufficiently complex rank you could convert it into a smooth manifold just long enough to get through."

The Doctor's jaw dropped, literally. He gaped at her, completely speechless. She sat up, loving the effect her words were having.

"Couldn't get the maths right though, in the end," she said with a self deprecating little shrug. "But as it turned out I didn't need to, the walls of reality broke down on their own, thanks to the Daleks."

The Doctor just continued to stare at her, wide eyed. She waved a hand in front of his stunned face, and he blinked.

"What, do you think I just sat on my arse watching TV and hoping you'd show up at some point? I went to college, got my A-Levels, although they don't call them that here, they're ALCs: Advanced Learning Certificates. It was hard, at first, but the thought of finding a way back to you kept me motivated. I split my time between my studies and my job at Torchwood, doing research there and working on the dimension cannon. I'd just finished my module in Algebraic Topology and Quantum Physics when Torchwood contacted me about the rifts reopening. So I left and went to find you."

"How long have you been waiting to tell me that?!" he said, with an incredulous look on his face.

"Ages!" she said, with a laugh. "It just never seemed to be the right time though. All that running away from Daleks and zombie wolves kind of got in the way a bit."

"Rose Tyler," said the Doctor, a grin spreading slowly across his face. "You are brilliant. Literally brilliant." He gave her a look of such fierce pride that she laughed, and kissed him.

"Come a long way since Henrick's, haven't I?" she said, with a smile.

"Oh yes! Yes you have. Rose Tyler, you're incredible."

He covered her face and neck with gentle kisses, and she laughed and rolled onto her back, pulling him on top of her...