As I am a professional writer and have work to do to get paid, I have decided to deal with these thudding plot bunnies in the traditional manner - I will inflict them on others. Please see my Profile for the Challenges of the Month. This month's June Challenges have been added because June's a good month for a change. The new challenges will run through the end of June. If you'd prefer to do May's, feel free. Please let me know when you respond to a Challenge so I can read and review. Stories are linked on my LJ.

This fic, a prequel to "As Its to Time", was written for Rynne for her winning bid in the Support Stacie Auction. First time posting on FFnet.

Part of the "Tomorrow is Yesterday" 'Verse.

After the Wedding Part 2

Than Love Will End

The music slowed, the song became a soft, imploring love song, and Rose danced closer, her arms around the Doctor's neck now, her smile wistful and far away. The Doctor did what he always did. "What are you two fighting about?" he asked.

Rose shrugged. "What do couples usually fight about?"

The Doctor frowned. "I've no idea, I don't..."

"You don't do domestic," she interrupted with a teasing smile.

The Doctor laughed. "Very apt."

Her smile turned tender and so strangely fond. "You've no idea how close you are, have you? Right now, one word different at a different time is all it would take. For awhile."

He frowned. He very much wanted to ask her what she meant, or maybe tell her that she really must know him very well to know that. But he was the Doctor and he didn't do that. "You're changing the subject again," he said instead.

"Sorry," she replied. "Bad habit I picked up from... well." She chewed nervously at her bottom lip.

"You called him a martyr?" the Doctor prodded gently. Might as well try to make things better while he was here. He was a physician, after all, and a very good one, if he did say so himself.

She snorted rather indelicately. "He is a martyr, he don't need me to tell him so." Rose looked up into the Doctor's eyes and hers were bright with unshed tears. "It isn't his fault," she insisted. "I know it's gotta seem that way, sometimes, but it isn't. Sometimes an alien invasion is just an alien invasion, and sometimes crap timing is just that... really crap timing, an' nothin' to do with..." She paused. "I shouldn't be tellin' you this. You're not s'posed to be here."

The Doctor was surprised. "I'm not?" he asked, pulling away from her and blinking in considerable bemusement. She couldn't possibly know that. And what was wrong with him? Why had that come out sounding rather more like a tease than a question? He stood smiling down at the girl who had asked him to dance, not sure why he was suddenly feeling so full of mischief.

"Well, you are," Rose admitted. "Just not..." She made a helpless looking gesture at his body, her hands describing things he wasn't entirely sure he wanted to know. "Decorative vegetables," she said, finally, pointing at the celery stalk attached to his lapel.

"It's a stimulant?" he offered blithely.

Rose reached up and touched his face with one small, cool hand. "So innocent you've gotta be guilty of sin. Some things never change." She lowered her hand and took his. "You just made that up," she clarified, her tongue between her teeth again. "An' I think you're flirting with me, too."

The Doctor started. Was he? Maybe? Couldn't possibly be. "Bit late for that, eh?" he said with artful enthusiasm.

She giggled. "Early," she corrected and then he really started.

"Rose?" he said.

"S'my fault you're here, I think," she said. "Pretty sure. See, he's gotten all glued together an'... an' I really, really wanted a proper kiss on our wedding day."

Rose stepped close and the Doctor had no choice but to embrace her - either that or let them both tumble to the floor, complicating matters enormously. He wrapped his arms around her and they fit together all too shockingly well. It was so confusing. She smelled like rain and home and daydreams come true. Her eyes were dark and trusting and he didn't understand how anyone could trust him that much, especially not if they knew him as well as she seemed to do. Her hands were cool where she touched him, her hearts were thrumming like mad where she pressed her body against his.

Wait. Her hearts.

"I... what?" He considered her carefully and, unable to help himself, reached up to brush back a lock of hair that had escaped her delicate coiffure.

There was no way she could possibly exist. He had to be imagining things. There were so few female Gallifreyans, even fewer of them who actually became Time Lords. He'd thought he caught a glimpse of the Rassilon Imprinatur in her eyes earlier, but what could a female Time Lord be doing on Earth in a wedding dress?

She smiled gently. "Doctor, you should probably go." Her accent got thicker, her voice trembled. "An' - I s'pose - block out your memory, too, right? 'Cuz you're not gonna get here for a long time, an' you're gonna hafta go through hell - a coupla times - t'do it."

He frowned. "I'm here?" he asked. "I hadn't noticed..."

Rose's face twisted in a kind of sweet, wistful pain, and her voice was intent and purposeful. "I'm a Time Lord," she assured him gently. "Long story. But I am. The bonded bride of another Time Lord." She stroked her finger gently along the length of his hand, tracing the back of it as if she had both right and knowledge to caress him so familiarly. "And you can't tell."

But anyone could tell. He should be able to see it from orbit, practically, with his four dimensional vision. A bonding was practically unheard of in his time frame, a custom older than the Citadel itself, one that hadn't been practiced since before the Panopticon was built. Even outside his regular time frame, he should be able to see her husband's name all over her.

Who would even do a bonding anymore? One of the very old Time Lords, perhaps, who was settling down in his very last life. Or a pair of the very young ones, as an experiment, just to see what it was like to have one voice stand out above the unremitting chorus in every Time Lord's head. Or, perhaps, one who had fallen very, very hard for his lover, fallen very far from grace altogether. Maybe a loner, a rebel, one who was perpetually cut off from his people, who found company, love, and comfort in another kindred soul. And, incidentally, one who was inordinately fond of Earth.

Oh dear. A lonely rebel, cut off.

And the Earth would always be his problem, until the day it was blown out of space.

"It was our first date," Rose whispered. She smiled up at him. "Your eyes were blue and we had chips."

"Did I project that?"

"Did you have to do?"

He was shaken to the very core. "Apparently not." The one person who wouldn't be able to see her bond was the one who put it there.

"But see, that's why you have to go, now. I did this, I must've an'..."

He hushed her with a finger to her lips, even now uncertain as to why he dared. "I think it's rather my fault," he corrected. "I am the one with the time machine."

"Bloody martyr," Rose murmured around his finger, and covered his hand with her own. She kissed his knuckles. "One day, I promise you, you're gonna understand."

"Understand what?" he asked, almost petulantly.

"Some things happen for a reason, sure, but that reason isn't always you. Sometimes things happen by pure random chance. Sometimes things happen because someone makes mistakes. And usually, my Doctor, it's not your fault at all."

"Your Doctor?" he asked, a smile he couldn't fight tugging at his lips.

She grinned that cheeky, sparkling grin. "Course you're my Doctor. All Doctors are mine, didn't you know?"

"I guess I do - for now." He bent his head, until he was talking right across her full, pink lips. "A wedding present, then, my Rose."

He kissed her. If that was what she wanted, she should have it. Something in her eyes said that she had wanted for a lot over her lifetime and should never want for anything ever again. She might have to do, but she shouldn't. He kissed her slowly, as chaste and gentle as any first kiss ever should be, a brushing of lips across lips, a slight and tender pressure.

Then, he turned to collect his companion and go.

"What'd you do to her?" he demanded of Jack the moment he found the very strange man with Tegan swaying on his arm.

"Gave her something for her memory," Jack said calmly. "She and Sarah Jane aren't supposed to meet until later for her. I took care of it."

"I knew," Tegan said stubbornly, swaying lightly from Jack's arm and onto the Doctor's. "Bad idea, Doc, but I bet you're rubbish at weddings, especially your own. Kissed the bride, though, that's good."

"The resident expert said she probably shouldn't be allowed to remember you kissing someone else, either," Jack added, as if Tegan wasn't there.

"She doesn't even like me," the Doctor pointed out rather accurately.

"Sure I do," said Tegan, vaguely. She stood on her toes and kissed his cheek with a gentleness that belied her usual forceful personality. "Let's go before you wreck something important."

"Yes. I expect even Adric and Nyssa will have grown bored with the Library by now."

He took Tegan to the TARDIS, then cast his thoughts out, looking for that last loose end. "You saw that?"

A familiar voice - his own, but not - replied, with no little humor, "Of course. Not letting her out of my sight, whatever she thinks."

"She says it isn't your fault."

"She always does," came the faint, almost cheerful answer. "Get out of here before I go all jealous husband on you."

"To that, all I can say..." The Doctor gave a small mental shrug. "We're a Time Lord."

The final answer was as intrigued as it was amused. "I like how I think..."

The Doctor cornered Rose only after they'd thrown bouquets, she'd said goodbye to all their guests, and they'd been chased around with bird seed and bubbles. She was in their room, tucked politely on their bed, reading up on some physics that had been annoying her for a month now. "This is stupid, yeah?" she complained. "None of it makes sense. It's like... even the writer didn't understand it, but it's temporal physics, and the writer was a Time Lord. What can possibly be the problem?"

"Mumph umph uh muph?" he said, then rolled his eyes. "Mumph."

Rose blinked up at him. "You're gonna explode before that stuff wears off," she teased. "It'll be all golden light and flashy sound effects, as the Doctor regenerates himself from an inability to run his mouth."

His hands tilted and began describing the words he wanted to say in the flowing, lyrical motions of Asliean sign language. Rose blinked. "The TARDIS is translating that," she observed, her voice a bit more surprised than her face. "But if you wanted to talk in my head, you don't really need sign language, do you?"

"No," he signed. "But you asked an intellectual question, and I'm not answering intellectual questions over our bond tonight."

Rose chuckled. "What are you going to do tonight, then?"

"Put the book down, Rose," he ordered, the signs clipped to convey the commanding tone.

She flinched. "Are you mad at me? 'Cuz I almost caused a paradox?"

"You didn't cause it," he signed. The floating gestures became slow, close to his body, meant to convey apology and a certain measure of submission. "No one caused it. It was wild chance. We fixed it."

"Jack said you were gonna turn me over your knee. I think he was just being Jack."

"I don't want to talk about him. It's our honeymoon."

Rose started, her legs crossing at the knees in the long flannel nightdress she wore. "We can't do anything about that," she said, sadly. She turned determinedly back to her book.

"Don't be too sure," he signed, the motions light, loose, and bouncy to show teasing.

"It's not happening. Go get your shower."

"Why isn't it happening?" He loosened the tie and left it to hang, then teased open the collar of his dress shirt.

"Can't even kiss you or I'll end up glued to you, Doctor," she said, firmly. Then, she turned over, her chest against the pillows, the book firmly lodged between her face and the mattress as she gathered the pillows like a hug.

"Suit yourself," he mused and, due to his lack of an audience, stripped hastily. He didn't even pretend not to notice Rose watching him pad naked into the en suite. He wanted her to watch, wanted her to see and feel and want everything he put in front of her.

A quick perfunctory clean-up, wishing soap and water - or anything known to any civilized world - would remove this disgusting goo (ok, point to Rose, there) from his mouth, and the Doctor thought he was as ready as he was going to be. He hadn't even attempted anything like this in ages, wasn't sure he even knew what he was doing, but he had to try. For her, for them, he knew they needed this.

The towel secure around his hips, he climbed into their bed behind his wife - married on 79 planets at last count, including her original one, and their one that didn't exist any more - and rubbed his nose up the back of her exposed neck. She shuffled nervously - he could feel the worry coming off of her in waves - as he nuzzled her hair, breathing her in.

"Doctor," she protested. "Please don't, I'll want..."

"What will you want?" he thought, letting the bond open between them, the sensation of completion and togetherness stirring him in more ways than one. He rubbed the side of his jaw where his nose had recently been, loving the feel of her smooth skin against his.

Rose gasped.

"Trying to keep me out with flannel, Rose Tyler?" he wondered, fingers skimming under the hem of her nightdress.

"No..." she gasped. The Doctor spread his broad hand against her thigh, looking down to admire just how well his grip could cover her. "No, Doctor, I'd never." He smiled as she reached behind her to tug at the nightgown, trying to get it back into place. Rose gasped and the Doctor inhaled sharply as her knuckles grazed exactly where he wanted her to touch his body. Weakly, she tried to shuffle away from him. "It... it was to keep me in."

"It's our wedding night." He breathed through his nose, a cool puff of air against her neck. "And our Bonding night. Supposed to be..." He grinned and allowed everything he was feeling to transmit along the bond. "Consummated."

Rose groaned. Vague, sensual thoughts of various consummations went flitting along her mind and he reached out to grasp them, bring the ideas into sharp relief. His hand skimmed forward, tugging at the tiny knickers just where her thighs met, blocking him from his prize. He really wanted the use of his tongue back, right now.

"Let's get you out of this." His thoughts were a whisper wrapped around hers. "Let me show you."


"You got your kiss, love." He tugged at the buttons on the front of the gown. "It was necessary. So is this."

He reached into her mind and found the contact points he needed. Like so many other things he had learned over the course of his long lifetime, something he needed a few minutes to refresh his memory about, and then he could do it again. "Rose, I can dance!" the Doctor remembered telling her all those years ago, grinning like a lunatic as his feet suddenly remembered what his mind had been trying to tell him all along. Back then, she had been human and so young but still everything he ever wanted. Now, she was all that and more.

She met him eagerly, confused and uncertain, but filled with the same longing that was building within the Doctor. "That's right, my love," the Doctor's mind whispered, even as he nuzzled his face into Rose's breasts. "Close your eyes and think of me. Be with me."

The impression of Rose's giggling and the words, "Alien space sex," went hovering through the heated air between them. The Doctor would have laughed right alongside her, was in fact, in his mind. Then, he brushed the place inside her thoughts that he needed to find, touching softly against something that had never been touched. Rose stiffened, gasped, and all laughter stopped.

It was all touch after that, sensations that were not real and yet felt more real than the most physical, intimate touch. He'd forgotten, or maybe never known, what this kind of joining really felt like.

Their minds united with a rhythm that matched their heart beats. Physical sensation manifested, duplicating in thought every brush of skin on skin, every shared kiss, every ecstasy of shared exploration.

This was a new level of intimacy even for them. Rose's thoughts skittered from sense to impression to aching in her body and in her head, wanting him inside her in every possible way. The Doctor felt it, too, felt it along with her, even as he kept his mind carefully centered on her and on everything she was feeling. He lost awareness of his body, and yet it was always there, throbbing and painfully hard and desperately seeking to be buried inside her.

Love blazed and burned and, being temporal, it was multifaceted and immediate at the same time. It was the new young love in a basement with joined hands and a soft declaration in words, six instead of three, but they meant the same. It was the age old love of two endless people who could look back on their lives and say they began where the other also did. It was the still and sharing love of a family long denied, quiet moments and stolen kisses and so much laughter. It was the tentative, hesitant love in touch of two who came together for the first time, almost terrified to believe it was real. It was the current joy of a newly wed couple lying breathless and shaking in each others arms.

It was utter abandon and utter joy.

Want burned into need with cold fire and longing. Individuality was not lost so much as won. Ultimate self to ultimate self, her Doctor and his Rose gave themselves up to each other and became themselves for each other. Passion fired every nerve ending in two bodies, writhing together for this closeness, for each other, for this this this!!


Reality exploded, went skittering off in a dizzying wave of ultimate ecstasy, as they reached, together, and found the absolute pinnacle.

"Well?" the Doctor managed, when he became aware of the rest of the Universe around him. He was covered in cool sweat, lying in soaked sheets, drenched in the scents of climax and emotions and Rose. She smelled of him, though, so it was right.

"Do that again." Rose, giddy and breathless, couldn't manage speech even though she'd not lost her mouth at all.

In two days time, when this stuff finally wore off, he would do her one better than that. For now... He would have grinned if he could, and his dark eyes sparkled and danced into her own dreamy ones. "Oh, yes."

Captain Jack Harkness woke to the realization that someone had stolen his floor during the night. They had also built a nuclear research facility inside his skull and the testing seemed to include an endless succession of detonations somewhere in the vicinity of his frontal lobe. To add insult to injury, someone, possibly the same bastard who had replaced his proper flooring with this ridiculously uncomfortable metal, was prodding him in the ribcage.

He knew he still had a ribcage because it hurt like torture even without the polite trainer toe that was poking at him as if checking to see if he was fully cooked. He groped blindly for the ankle of the offender, only to find himself laughed at and taunted, possibly by demons.

"What did you do?" interrogated his tormentor.

"Wirrzt?" Jack inquired eloquently.

"How did you do this? How could anyone do this? I didn't even know this was possible. Me! I've lived more than a thousand years, Jack, and I cannot even begin to tell you exactly how many things you have personally done that are completely and utterly impossible. Nevertheless, this takes the cake. Do you think for even one moment that I'm going to let you get away with this? I'll... I'll boil you in soup..."

The Doctor's monologue (it was obviously the Doctor; no one else could possibly monologue like that) was cut short by the sound of bells. The Doctor sputtered indignantly, and the bells rang their joy even louder. The nuclear reactor in his left hemisphere went critical. Jack wondered if he could get away with dying quietly to himself.

The bells cut off and were replaced by Rose, teasing. (Again, it was obviously Rose; no one else could possibly tease like that.) "That's your big threat, Doctor?"

"What of it?" the Doctor demanded indignantly. (No one did indignant like the Doctor, either.)

Jack held his breath. The Doctor continued carping like a council estate mother. (Three guesses where he picked that up.) "It isn't possible to get a Time Machine drunk, Rose. He has to have been working on this devious little plot of his for days!! I'll... I'll have him sold into slavery on Quixallery."

"All the things that've been done to you over the years, an' the worst threat you can come up with is to make him into some rich boy's pet? You're losin' your touch, oh Impending Thunderhead, not to mention prob'ly turnin' him on!"

The Doctor sighed. "It's Jack," the Doctor groaned. "Neither one of you'd let me do something really horrible to him."

"Let him alone," Rose said, "I'm sure it was an accident, and he's certainly paying for it now."

"Three seconds," the Doctor agreed.

Reality faded to black, and then burst back into Jack's lungs like an annoyed March wind. Feeling much better, Jack endeavored to sit up, but found it a bit of a problem for the moment. "I had help," he said.

"You... had help?!" the Doctor roared. "Who'd you let onto my ship?"

"No one, Doctor," Jack said with a sigh. "She helped me get her drunk, so I don't think you can blame me. Besides, aren't you supposed to be consummating something now that you've got the use of your mouth back?" Jack grinned and, in precisely calculated tones, added, "If you need help... or a witness..."

The Doctor swore musically and huffed down the corridor. Rose leaned over, kissed Jack on the forehead, and turned to follow her husband. "Feel better soon," she said. "Both of you."

"That's why I kept her," said the woman sprawled across Jack's chest.

Jack chuckled and ran a hand through the hair like a starry banner that tumbled all around them. "One of these days, you're going to have to tell him."

The sound of the Doctor's swearing reached them, even through the corridors. Rose had probably just informed him that he'd lost another round. "One of these days, I'm going to have to wash his mouth out with soap," she replied. Then she shrugged. "You'd think he'd find more important things to say when he's been forced to silence for two days."

Jack laughed. "Did you have anything to do with that?"

The ancient, glowing, night dark eyes met Jack's own with a twinkle that ought to be illegal. "Who? Me?" she asked, all child-like innocence and ageless wonder.

Jack just chuckled and hoped she'd sober up soon.