Title: Ghost Shift (part of the What If series)
Author: sinecure
Character/Pairing: Ten/Rose
Rating: All ages
Genre: AU, romance
Summary: What if things had gone differently during Doomsday?
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who.
Author's Notes: to JennyLD for the beta.

The Doctor looked over his shoulder at Rose. In all the excitement of the Cybermen and the Daleks, the drama of Rose leaving him and then coming back on her own--to be with him, just him, no more family, no more friends--he'd hardly had a moment to think. But as he watched her work on the magna clamp, he felt a sudden tightening in his chest.

He'd almost lost her today. Forever. He'd sent her with Jackie and Pete and Mickey and sealed his hearts from her, but then she'd come back. It'd been long enough though for him to feel the pain of her loss, the emptiness that he'd suffer without her.

Watching her now, he was more than grateful that she'd refused to listen to reason, returning to him mere moments after he'd sent her away.

And now she was here forever. Giving him her forever. But that storm was still coming, he could feel it. He didn't want there to be any regrets if this was it. If this was when everything ended.

Moving across to her side of the room, he cleared his throat. She jumped in surprise and spun around with a grin. "Oi, can the heart attack wait until after we've saved the Universe?"

He shook his head. "This can't," he murmured, lifting a hand to touch her face, but stopping just shy of actually doing so. Eyes searching hers, he watched as her brow lowered and her grin faded.

"What is it?" she asked, voice nervous, and he knew she was probably thinking he was going to send her away again, but that was the furthest thing from his mind.

In fact, he intended to never, ever do it again.

Cupping her cheek tenderly, just briefly before releasing it again, he licked his lips and forced himself to hurry. Time was running out. "Rose Tyler." She raised her eyebrows, looking at him like he was losing his mind or going space crazy or something. The thought made him smile and he chuckled lightly before finishing. "I love you."

He was pretty sure he'd done the one thing in the entire complex thought processes of her mind that she'd never expected him to do because she merely stared at him for a minute.

Then her eyes filled with tears. "Bastard."

Startled, he backed up a step. "Sorry? I-- I don't--" lifting his hand, he scratched at his jaw as confusion swamped through him.

"You sent me away," she told him, eyes glaring at him, tears gone. Smacking his shoulder, she sniffled, then wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug. "Don't ever do that again."

"Never," he promised, breathing her in, hoping it wouldn't be for the last time.

"I love you," she whispered, but he caught the words anyway.

And felt them. Words had power, and these were the most powerful of all aside from a name. He shuddered and held her tighter, feeling the urgency in him recede for a moment. "Quite right too."

She chuckled and pulled free, and he released her, wishing he didn't have to yet, but knowing they needed to finish the--

Lips. Ah.

He was pretty sure he liked Rose Tyler's lips on his. No. He was positive he did. In fact, he was so positive that he grabbed her tighter and kissed her harder, deeper than the small kiss she'd pressed to his lips. His mouth was eager and he wanted to take in all of her at once, fingers and hands and lips and tongues, touching and tasting and nipping and licking.

Oh, he definitely wanted to lick her in places that her clothes usually kept hidden.

Her arms tightened around his and she did something with her tongue that made him shiver. He pressed her back, hoping to find something hard to press her against before she lost her balance and tumbled them both to the ground. Somewhere he could hold her steady and make sure she stayed still for his assault on her senses.

But she fell backward and their kiss abruptly ended.

Blinking as he caught his breath, and himself, against a large lever, he looked around, remembering where they were and why. Right... Cybermen! Daleks!

Grinning, he held his hand out to her, smirking a little at the dazed look on her face.

She'd landed against the lever. As she straightened herself, the lever slipped a little. "Oi, careful," he warned, moving her gently out of the way before locking the lever back into place. "There we go!" He headed back across the room to his own lever, double-checked it, then turned to Rose, finding her grinning back just as widely. "Ready?"

Winking at him, she yelled, "Always."

"Cheeky," he called back with a pleased smile, heading to the computer to start the Ghost Shift sequence.