Title: Across the Universe
Author: sinecure
Character/Pairing: Ten/Rose
Rating: Teen
Genre: Fluff, romance
Summary: Getting back to the Doctor was the easy part. Defining their relationship is a bit harder.
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who.
Author's Notes: to JennyLD for the beta and the prompt, which, I used the title of quite literally.

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup, they slither while they pass, they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind, possessing and caressing me
-- Across the Universe; The Beatles

The sound of the TARDIS door shutting was silent, but Rose felt it reverberate throughout her entire body. Everyone was gone, the excitement over, the universe safe, and now she was alone with the Doctor.

Finally alone.

It felt like years had passed since she'd spotted him across a street that seemed to stretch on for eternity. Like months had gone by since he'd regenerated. Well, sort of regenerated. The corners of her mouth turned up as she snuck a look at him across the console room.

He was watching her. She'd expected his attention to be focused completely on the console, but instead, his eyes were on her, his hands flipping switches almost absently, but with purpose. He circled around, keeping his gaze on her, only occasionally dropping his eyes to see what his hands were doing, and as the time rotor began to wheeze and pump up and down, he moved away from the dials and buttons and headed toward her.

His stride was long and purposeful as he closed the distance between them.

The beat of her heart doubled its speed as her body anticipated one of his tight hugs. She'd missed his arms around her. Missed his breath on her neck, the feel of his cooler skin against hers and in her hand. Her body strained toward his, but she stayed where she was, waiting for him to come to her.

She'd crossed universes for him; she thought it only fair that he cross a room for her.

But, when he reached her, his arms didn't go around her, they rose up instead to cup her cheeks, but didn't stop there. His fingers threaded back through her hair as his eyes swept over her, taking in all the changes six years had wrought; more stress lines around her eyes, fewer laugh lines around her mouth.

His hands repeated the movement a few times, cupping her cheeks, then threading through her hair.

She began to feel a little uncomfortable under his scrutiny. Dropping her eyes to his chest, she took a moment to figure out what to say to the man she'd never stopped loving. Never stopped trying to get back to. A man she had got back to, against all odds.

No words came to mind except a useless, and slightly inane urge to say hello.

The pads of his thumbs rubbed gently along the skin of her temples before brushing lightly into her hair. When she lifted her eyes to his again, she drew in a sharp breath at the intensity of his gaze.

His dark eyes were watching her, brows dipped down, mouth tight and... she didn't understand it. Confusion swamped through her at his strange mood and actions and... she just wanted his arms around her. She wanted him to wrap her in a hug and never, ever let her go.

"Doctor," she whispered, voice wavering. The days were catching up to her. The endless nights of wandering and searching, traipsing through world after world to find the one man in all the worlds that she wanted to be with. The man she now was with, but couldn't find the courage to touch.

The man who wasn't touching her the way she wanted--needed--him to.

Although, if she wanted to go down that route, a hug wasn't all she wanted from the Doctor. But, she knew her life wasn't going to be perfect; traveling with a man who loved her, making love nightly, running for their lives daily, fixing problems and saving worlds and lives... all of that was fantasy.

Well. The part about making love nightly was fantasy. The rest was reality, and she was okay with that.

Disappointed, but okay.

"Rose."

She hadn't made the decision to return to the Doctor lightly. Knowing what she was doing was a big part of why her mum had followed her to their original universe. Jackie had known she might never see her daughter again, and she was right.

The Doctor combed his hands through her hair again, and she lifted her eyes to him once more, deciding to take the plunge and just pour her heart out to him.

"I've missed--"

His mouth pressed against hers, catching her off guard. Cool lips moved over hers, his tongue, taking advantage of her gasp of surprise, slid into her mouth and brushed against hers.

This was... exactly what she wanted from him. Exactly what she'd been wanting since that street and the Dalek-- no. Since before that. Way before that. He'd had big ears the first time she'd fought an urge to kiss him. A big smile when she first felt her heart flip at a look from him. A big nose when she first realized that she was in love with him.

Floppy brown hair when she realized that she wanted to stay with him forever.

His hands tightened on her cheeks, tilting her head to the side for better access to her mouth, then he deepened the kiss.

A moment passed and then another as he kissed her hard, harder, desperately, and she sighed into his mouth before kissing him back, snapping out of her stunned paralysis. She slipped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer, pressing her body against his. He swung them around and pushed her back against the strut she'd been standing by.

Sudden as a heartbeat, he drew back and stared at her, breathing hard. "I love you, Rose Tyler."

Her eyes widened in surprise at his words. "You--"

"I want you to know. Need you to know that I love you. I never got to say it and I didn't think I'd ever get the chance again, but..." he chuckled and tightened his hands in her hair, "here you are. I already lost you once... and nearly died," he breathed, resting his forehead against hers. "I don't intend to ever let that happen again."

His breath wafted over her face, warming her chilled body. That he was confessing this to her, saying the words she'd longed to hear for so long, that he was baring himself to her, brought tears to her eyes. Her fingers played with the ends of his hair, stroking lightly along the back of his neck. "I--" once again the words got caught in her throat.

His mouth curved up in a breathless chuckle. "I know. Stay with me?"

She fought a smile, wondered why she was doing it, and let it go, let her lips curve up. "Couldn't get rid of me if you tried." Then his words from earlier came back to her and she slipped a hand down to his side, to where the Dalek had shot him. "But, you lived."

He shook his head and released her face to encircle her wrists. Drawing the left one to his chest, he pressed her hand flat against his shirt over his right heart. "Here." He settled her right one over his left heart. "And here." Lips ghosting over hers, he whispered, "I need you so much, Rose. If I lose you again... I think they'll stop beating."