Rose awoke to the sound of thunder.
She lay watching the flashes of lightning as they illuminated the room briefly, and rolled over to find the other side of the bed empty. Another flash showed his dressing gown was missing from the foot of the bed and she threw off the covers. Toeing her slippers on, she picked up her gown and slowly made her way out of the room in search of him.
She heard no sound at the bottom of the stairs, but a slight breeze through the kitchen doorway confirmed her suspicions that he would be found outside watching the storm.
She stepped through the back door as another burst of crackling thunder descended upon her ears, the windows rattling under the assault. He was sitting on the bottom step, chin cupped in his hand and the other arm wrapped around his knees.
"Hey," she said, sitting beside him and pulling her gown tighter around her in the cool air.
"Did I wake you?"
"No, the thunder did." She hooked an arm through his and snuggled against him.
"Do you miss him?" he asked after a few moments and another pause in the rumbling thunder.
"Yeah, I do. He was a fantastic friend," she smiled up at him as he grinned and bumped her lightly with his shoulder. He'd understood the reference.
They watched the lightning dance above the clouds a while longer before he spoke again.
"Remember when I told you about the Family?" Rose nodded solemnly, not wanting to say anything, as he very seldom talked about his years without her as his companion. "When Martha gave me the watch, and I didn't understand why I had to change back," he paused, biting his lower lip and Rose waited patiently as he struggled with the words.
"I held Joan's hand and together we saw what could have been our timeline, I glimpsed the future with her," his voice trailed off, and Rose could see him tearing up. It was then she realized the human form of the Doctor had truly fallen in love, and she felt a pang of jealousy.
"Tonight the thunderclaps woke me and for a moment I thought it was bombs exploding around us, and I was afraid," his voice had grown quiet as the storm drowned out the last few words. "I realized that what I really wanted was to take that journey with you."
Rose didn't even bother to brush away her tears as they mingled with the new falling rain. He placed an arm around her and pulled her to his chest, resting his chin on her head.
"I love you, Rose Tyler. Walk with me on the slow path?" Rose nodded, not trusting her own voice as she wrapped her arms tightly around him.
They sat together until the storm abated and then watched and welcomed the new day dawning with a glorious sunrise; the first of many to follow.