Disclaimer: Doctor Who owns my soul, I own nothing.
Spoilers:
The Christmas Invasion
Prompt: Rose getting over Nine
Thanks To: Ladybeth and Bananasandroses for the beta
Author's Notes:
A sequel to Sinecure's fic. Written as a gift for BoyyM during the April 2009 Support Stacie Author Auction.


Standing in the doorway to the Doctor's room, Rose watched as the man in bed slept quietly, peacefully, completely unaware of her presence. Of her questioning gaze, mapping out his features, trying to decide who he was.

If he was really him. Her Doctor.

Her eyes trailed up his still form, pausing briefly on the slow rise and fall of his chest. There were so many things, so many great, glaring differences screaming at her that no, this wasn't him. Couldn't be. Besides the obvious--physical--ones, the Doctor she knew didn't sleep. At all. He'd explained to her once, snuggled up in this very bed, how not all species slept as much as the human race did. Told her that Time Lords only needed one-fourteenth the amount she did.

Okay, so not 'not at all' then, she thought with a sigh, moving further into the room. Her bare feet made little noise on the plush carpet, a welcome reprieve from the cold metal grating lining the halls of the TARDIS. It was soft and cushy, enough so, in fact, that you could shag on it comfortably.

Something she knew from personal experience.

Stopping at the foot of the bed, she inhaled deeply. There were other things, small, minute details that confirmed what he'd been saying to her for days now. Again, aside from the obvious--two hearts for instance--there were so many little things that reminded her of her Doctor that sometimes it was hard to remember that he wasn't. Hard not to close her eyes and let herself become enveloped in his scent. That distinct smell that always made her think of black holes and stars going supernova.

And earlier, when he'd worn his leather jacket--

"Rose."

Jerking her head up, she came face-to-face with the man in question. Found him kneeling on the bed, just inches away, watching her. She hadn't even noticed him waking up, but then again, he'd always been so quiet. Able to sneak up on her without her sensing him. Had done so on more than one occasion.

It always freaked her out a little.

Moving closer, he opened his mouth to speak and she braced herself, knowing what he was going to say. The same thing he'd been saying ever since that day in the console room when she'd watched him go up in flames. The same thing she couldn't believe--not yet. The same thing she'd come to dread hearing.

Why couldn't he just understand that she wasn't ready--

"I'm sorry." He reached out to cup her cheek, thumb brushing gently against her skin. "I'm so sorry."

She blinked, biting back her argument. That wasn't what--she was expecting him to insist he was him. To try to convince her that nothing had changed. That he was the same man she'd fallen in love with.

Made love to.

Before she could think about it, the words were out of her mouth, "Doctor, I..." Sucking in a breath, she stopped herself. It was the first time she'd said that name out loud in so long. The first time she'd called him that. She half-expected him to grin at her in triumph.

But he didn't. He just kept stroking her cheek, watching her, patiently. Waiting.

Letting her decide what happened next. Letting her choose where they went now. Not trying to influence her.

Just like before. When they'd kissed for the first time.

Blinking back the tears she'd been hiding from him for days, she raised her gaze to his, and for the first time in just as long, really looked at him. Looked past the softer planes of his face, past the longer hair and shorter ears, the mouth that seemed so much more eager to smile.

Pretty boy, her Doctor would've called him.

Looked beyond even the brown of his eyes--god, how she missed the blue--focusing not on how they looked, but on what she saw in them. Old Miss Ashford down in 7C had been wrong. Eyes weren't the window to a person's soul. Not the Doctor's anyway. His were windows to the universe. Fathomless, bottomless pits of knowledge. People and places. Events long past and ones yet to come. Things she'd never see and couldn't even begin to imagine.

God, they were so easy to get lost in.

And that, for one, hadn't changed.

Trying not to lean into his touch, she tamped down on the hope that was rising up in her. "I watched you change. Burn. You burned."

He didn't say anything, just continued to watch her, quietly.

"You were him and..." She swallowed thickly. "And now you're you."

He nodded once, not in agreement so much as encouragement.

"But that's not..." Turning away from him, away from his sympathetic look, his tender touch, she took a deep breath. "That's not possible."

"Rose," he said gently, "look at me."

She didn't want to. Didn't want to let him convince her that what she already knew in her heart was true. Because accepting him, even if he was the same Doctor, felt like a betrayal of the love she shared with a man who wore his heart on his sleeve--even if no one saw it--and hid his scars from the world.

"Ghosts, Rose. Slitheen." His hand dropped from her cheek and out of the corner of her eye she saw him shift back, away from her. "Watching your world end billions of years in your future." He paused, licked his lips. She could tell he was trying so hard not to let his frustration show. "Saving your father's life."

Jerking forward, she blinked back the sudden reappearance of tears. That hurt was still so strong, the wound so deep, she didn't know if she'd ever be able to forget it.

"Point is," he continued softly, "I'm not human, Rose. I'm alien and what's impossible for you is normal for me. Everything I've shown you. Everything we've done. You wouldn't have believed any of it before me."

He was right. The two hearts. A ship that traveled in time and space. Was it so much of a stretch to believe that, instead of dying, he changed his face and kept on living? She'd seen tree people and met Charles Dickens. Been inside 1 Downing Street and on other planets.

He was over 900 years old and an alien.

"I'll just..." He swung his legs over the side of the bed facing away from her. Waved his hand distractedly in the air. "Go. I'll...be in the console room if you need me." He stood up, started heading for the open door and she finally got a good look at him.

Shirttails hanging out of wrinkled trousers, he still had his trainers on. His coat was tossed over one side of the bed and the duvet wasn't even turned down. A bit of pink was peeking out from beneath his pillow and she recognized it immediately as the camisole she'd worn the last time she slept in here. Three whole days ago.

"Wait." Paused just inside the doorway, he didn't turn back to her. Just stood there, back straight, hands shoved in his pockets. "Don't go. I..." She crossed the room slowly, certainly. Because he was her Doctor, no matter how different he might seem.

And she'd hurt him.

"I'm sorry," she whispered, stepping in front of him, ducking her head to catch his down-turned gaze. "I was wrong. You are him. You just...you don't look the same anymore." Taking a deep breath, she held out her hand, waggling her fingers at him.

He eyed her cautiously. "Do you really believe that, Rose? Because just a few minutes ago you were willing to bet anything against it."

Nodding, she took a step closer, resting her hand over his chest, feeling his heart beats speeding up ever so slightly. "Yeah. I do. It's just...it's gonna take some getting used to, yeah? Your new body." A new body that she wasn't entirely unattracted to, she thought, running her palm up and across his surprisingly muscular shoulders. In fact, she rather liked what she saw. Felt. Wanted to feel more of it. "New hair," she mused, moving in closer, trailing her hand to the back of his head, fingers tangling in the brown strands.

"New, new Doctor," he looked down at her, voice deepening slightly.

Rising up on tiptoes, she pressed her mouth to his quickly, then pulled back a little, gauging his reaction. His eyes were closed, breath coming out through parted lips. He didn't encourage her, but he didn't exactly stop her either.

So she kissed him again.

More firmly this time, more insistent. Feeling the coolness of his lips pressing against hers. They were just the same as before. Different thickness maybe, but everything else was the same. The way he kissed her back, holding her to him with one hand pressed to her lower back. The way his tongue caressed her lips--first the top, and then the bottom--before entering her mouth, mapping, exploring, as thoroughly as he had during their first kiss. It was as if he was tasting her for the first time all over again.

And yet, it felt so very familiar to her. By the time he pulled back, giving her a chance to breathe, she felt the familiar tugging between her legs, knew her knickers were already growing damper.

Resting his forehead against hers, he took a deep, shuddering breath. "You sure about this?" he asked, gaze finding and holding hers. "Because if you need more time..."

She nodded, letting a smile turn up her lips. "I'm sure," she told him, reaching down between them to rub at the bulge slowly growing in his trousers. "And so are you."

"Always was," he whispered, taking her by the hand and leading her to his bed. Their bed. Again. For as long as she wanted it.