"I missed the star showers last time," Rose said, tossing her head and brushing strands of blond hair out of her face as she sat down roughly on the blanket she had brought with them. It was a cool, calm night, just enough of a breeze to keep away the bloodsuckers and creepy crawlies, the sorts of things that ruined a summer evening outdoors, and the sun was sinking behind the distant tree line as the Doctor and his companion settled into each other's arms. Rose protested only slightly, of course, laughing about his wandering hands as they gathered her closer and closer still.

"Star showers are so easy to come by in space, as common as, well, rain here on Earth," was the Doctor's reply as he pulled Rose from her sitting spot and down into the plush folds of quilt. The scent of grass crept through the layers of cotton and residual fabric softener fragrance; the Doctor sucked it all in. Those were the sorts of smells you don't come by very often, those things you realize you miss the most about the past: the way everything smelled. Well worn cloth and the denim of Rose's jeans as her leg pressed against his hand, the spikes and flowers of field grass lumping up under their bodies; it wasn't just smell the Doctor knew he would want to remember so vividly.

"I know, I know," Rose muttered. "But there is nothing like seeing those sorts of things from solid ground, standing on dirt and looking up into a predictable sky. Seeing these things at home instead of in travels is just, well, I don't know..."

"Concrete? Personal? Memorable?"


"How so?"

Rose traced the Doctor's jawline with a pondering finger, running her palm along his cheek before drifting over his ear, repeating the pattern as she spoke.

"It doesn't mean any less to see cosmic events in space compared to on Earth. It's just so different. We can go to any corner of any galaxy we want on the whim of seeing star showers but, on Earth, you have to wait for them to come and once they're gone, they're gone. Because it's so occasional, it's a different sort of special. Am I making any sense?"

"To be honest, when you start talking and touching at the same time, I tend to focus on the latter," the Doctor admitted, chuckling as he pressed his face into Rose's hand and kissed her wrist. He could feel the blood pulsing through her veins, rushed and hot, and he drew her into the fold of his jacket, tucking her in next to him.

"Same here. When you start talking about sub-converters and codes, TARDIS sort of things, I just tend to watch you instead. Can't follow everything all the time, you know?"

With a laugh, Rose buried her face into his shirt and sighed. The smell of him, the feel, the touch, the taste...

Through time, things evolve: that's the way of existence. Sometimes the evolution takes things away, but most often time opens doors, creates opportunities.

The Doctor smelled like the TARDIS, a dark scent she could never put her finger on, the tang of suede and sandalwood muted to the point of being indistinguishable from any other scent unless you paid close attention and sniffed deep. The feel of her hand in his the most knowledge about his body she had of him until the hugs, those fickle things starting gentle, careful, transforming into curving, pressing, lingering contact. His skin, hair, clothing, everything: it felt different, requiring different types of touching, always varied, always familiar. Rose loved running her hands along the length of his jacket sleeve to cup his rounded shoulder before sliding along his back, across his side, resting on his hand before resuming the journey up the sleeve again, as she was doing now. But taste... it was something new to the both of them, something they had admitted to one another just the other night...

He had told her she tasted like vanilla, oranges, strawberries, depending on what flavor lip gloss she happened to brush on that day, but his favorite taste was her blood, her skin. It had unnerved her, concerned her, and he quickly explained.

"It's not the actual taste, Rose, not as though I'm craving the liquid in my mouth, so you can stop looking at me like that," he had said quietly as they rested together, curled up on the bench at the TARDIS console. "It's the residual iron, the salt, the bitter sweetness that runs under your lips, what comes through your skin, whatever your body does to make it taste the way it does. Mineral and metal, but soft. It's the most delicious craving in the world, so many hard tastes in something so comforting. It's not your blood, Rose. It's what's in your blood, what's in your skin, what I can-"

Stopping there, she had realized how uncomfortable he suddenly felt, and Rose felt her discomfort at his descriptions fade away; a strange sort of transfer she wanted to take back. He had never talked about her so personally, so intimately—she wanted it to continue. What she had done, though, was kiss him as hard as she possibly could, bruising her lips against his, and then, after a whisper of breath and a flutter of hearts, she had placed her lips gently on his, waiting.

The Doctor, her beloved Doctor, had kissed her then as he kissed her now, hesitant, melting over her skin, heating her to her very core as they forgot who exactly they were in the sweet movements of overlapping lips. She had cried that night, silent tears running down her face for reasons she couldn't exactly fathom. They had stopped kissing when they both realized there was more salt than there should have been, shallow rivers crossing paths and meeting mouths. When Rose had pulled away, she realized the Doctor had been crying, too.

They needed this. How could they have gone this long without it?

"Rose Tyler," the Doctor had said, "I've been meaning to tell you something for a long, long time. I should have said it before now, but I always thought you understood what I never spoke."

She saw, deep in his welling eyes, those eyes that had dropped all defenses and let her see the essence of his soul, what he was trying to say. It wasn't painless—even then, he dropped his chin, sipping air, losing the courage he mustered for this moment—but she knew.

"You love me."

"Quite right, too."

He had sighed, every bit of air in his lungs escaping before pulling in one huge breath to fuel the sobs that wracked his body. She held him, the pale teal and gold reflections of energy and equipment falling over their figures as the TARDIS went to sleep and the Doctor became as human as he ever had been.

It was dark except for the star light above them, the two figures snuggled together against the breeze that had turned chilly, even for summer weather. Rose was nearly asleep, pulled up against the length of the Doctor's warm body, one arm draped over his torso and the other tucked into her chest. The time lord rested his cheek against her forehead, brushing hair from her face as the wind occasionally caused the strands to escape from behind her ear, breathing deep. It was as though he had been able to suck in a true breath of air for the first time in years after Rose looked into his eyes and told him what was hidden behind the fears and tears, anger and sadness, all those things that kept him from looking at her the way he should have all along.

Looking up at the sky, the stars drifting lazily along the tree tops, he wondered where he should take her next. Rose had adamantly refused to stay in London for more than a few days, insisting there were too many planets to see and life forms to visit and adventures to have. He was glad Jackie had pointed out the meteor event, Rose wanting to stay just one night longer than planned to go out to the countryside and see the happenings she had always missed on Earth but always saw from the TARDIS. The blue box, the other love in the Doctor's life, was waiting patiently on the hill behind the Doctor and his Rose; the Doctor could feel the occasional hum reverberate from the time machine through the ground to settle into his bones. It was a rare event that the TARDIS hummed with approval.

"Rose," the Doctor whispered, shaking her gently. "I think the star shower is starting."

"Let it rain," she answered, smiling as she leaned into the kiss he gave her before rolling to her other side to watch the streaks of white flash across the inky blue sky.

The Doctor draped his body over hers, wrapping a loving arm around her resting form and burying his face into her hair. He couldn't believe how calming she was, even after all the years he had spent with her, coming to this realization every time he touched her—just her touch was intoxicating. It relaxed him, comforted him, made him feel loved for the first time in hundreds of years: Rose.

Beautiful, silly, clever Rose with the blond hair and lips of honey, the woman who accepted him for all that he was and had gathered his essence into her heart. The ice and fire, blood and pain: they couldn't ever be forgotten, and the Doctor knew he would have it no other way but to remember, but Rose was the other half, the good things he had never fully accepted as they were before now. It was okay, truly. The human emotions he knew swept through Rose's mind by the minute, the love and lust and nervousness and everything that made her the fragile, resilient being he couldn't let out of his life... he wanted to experience them as fully as she did. It would all come with time.

"I love you," she said quietly as the streaks started to fade and sky resumed normalcy.

He held her close.

"I always knew," the Doctor whispered in her ear, closing his eyes and smiling. "Always."

I pretty much should have warned you all once again before you started in reading that this was just massive amounts of shameless fluff. "Doomsday" had so many good quotes, too, that I couldn't help but use them in a happier way... I seem to notice a pattern in my Who-fics: blankets and stars and flashbacks. Goodness, time to expand my plots a bit, shake things up? Yeah. But it was a fun thing to write and, hey, why not post it? Respectful reviews only, please; believe me, I'm torn apart by an editor regularly about my 'serious' work, so I write fanfiction for the fun of it (aka: if you didn't like it, respectfully tell me why, but, other than that, no critique. I'm not really looking to expand as a writer here... it's just cracky fanfic written way too late in the evening when I should have been asleep...). Thanks for sticking through it and hopefully you enjoyed it. Happy Reading!