Disclaimers: Doctor Who does not belong to me, nor do any of the characters in this oneshot. Doctor Who is property of the BBC and Russell T. Davies. The plot of this oneshot does belong to me though. Enjoy, Ten/Rose shippers. Thank my beta for this one and for the sister piece, Stopping Time (The Doctor).

Synopsis: He came to her, a dark shadow stepping into the gold and blue light of the TARDIS core and every part of her was suddenly on fire, confused by his expression but wanting more of it. She was his last stop, always.

Rating: M

Pairing: Ten/Rose

Author: Cassandra/Tasogareban

Beta: Bratflorida over at livejournal.

Spoilers: All of the first four series of New Who, including the year four specials.

The Last Stop (Rose)

You're falling back to me
The star that I can see
I know you're out there
somewhere out there.

You're falling out of reach
Defying gravity
I know you're out there
Somewhere out there.

Somewhere Out There – Our Lady Peace

The first time he came to see me, that he had actually spoken to me, I didn't even know who he was. He had a new face, one that was vaguely familiar to me somehow, even that first time. I remembered years later where I had first seen the new face. When I had first seen the new face. During the New Years holiday, '05. One cold night, out in the street, as I had been going home with my mother. I had seen him and I didn't even know who he was. He had told me later that the only reason he would ever come back to visit me was if there was no way he would ever see me again. That's the way he is, that strange man. Crazy. Confusing. Beautiful. And always lonely.

When he came the first time, he had caught me in the street then, too. I had gone to get chips because he had liked chips when he'd had blue eyes and a leather jacket. He liked them with the brown eyes and the brown suit, too. I just hadn't known who he was.

The night was cold. She wasn't used to this weather change anymore. One planet would be cold as winter, with snow falling on perfectly pristine sculptures of red ice. And the next planet would have summer in full effect, too hot to bother disembarking from the TARDIS. She put her head down, the paper bag clutched in her cold hands and held close to her chest to keep warm. She debated running the rest of the way to the blue phone box. Either the chips would freeze or she would. Any of those options would be unacceptable to him.


She turned upon hearing her name spoken. Whispered. Almost painful, that whisper. Full of sorrow. She froze to the spot with a frown, feeling colder there than she'd felt the entire walk back to the TARDIS.

A man stood in the shadow of a streetlight, his face hidden. She dropped her eyes to his feet, squinting to see. Trainers. Long brown pants. And a brown overcoat. She tilted her head, lifting her gaze back up suspiciously. "Did you just call me?" She asked him, hesitating.

The man came from the shadow, out into the light though his face continued to remain shadowed. "I did," he replied quietly, almost reluctantly. But even then, he took a step away, turning his face further into the shadow.

She attempted to catch his eyes, even tried to see his face, but all she caught was the hard line to his jaw. "Do I know you?" she asked him, lowering the bag of chips to her side.

The man did not reply for a long moment, his head bowed. The streetlight illuminated wild, wonderful hair, casting a bright light along dark brown strands and locks. "No. I should think not. It's too early," he answered her slowly. And he lifted his head to look at her, shaking it faintly. "It's too early. And I shouldn't have come."

She frowned at him in confusion. "What's that you said?"

Without another word, he whirled on his feet and darted back into the shadow, moving away.

In surprise, she merely watched him stride away. "Hey! Wait! How do you know my name-" But he turned the next corner and vanished around it, long coattails fluttering behind his tall frame.

With a shake of her head, she lifted the bag of chips back to her chest, embracing it, and continued on to the TARDIS. When she got there, the chips had still been cold. She'd been cold, too. The blue-eyed Doctor hadn't been happy with either outcome.

The second time he came to me, I finally knew who he was. I was then familiar with his new face and had already come to love it in such a small amount of time. I would have loved him no matter what face he had shown up with. But that time, he came with the Tenth incarnation's face and I was already in love with him.

He had told her to wait for him while he'd rushed back to the TARDIS. She assumed that meant there was nothing dangerous on this planet they were currently visiting. Any small threat and he would have taken her with him. But instead, he'd sat her down on a small bench beside a pretty little fountain and had told her to wait for him. He would only be ten minutes, less. And off he'd gone.

And now she waited, studying the various races of people that walked past her. They didn't seem to find her out of place even though she did not share their red skin tone and dark, black eyes. She felt out of place quite enough for all of them.

"Did I leave you waiting long?" he asked her as he suddenly appeared at her back.

She turned, her mouth already open to reply that he'd barely been gone a couple of minutes. And she came to a sudden stop, staring at him. He returned the stare, his jaw tight, dark circles under his eyes. She lowered her gaze to his feet. White trainers. A brown suit. Long brown coat. She slowly lifted her eyes to his face once more. Everything was familiar except for the weary look on his face. It made him a complete stranger to her somehow. Shakily, examining him intently, she stuttered, "N-no. You…"

A small look of understanding came into his eyes and he lowered them, hands lifting to slide into his coat pockets. Silently, he wound around her, and she watched him as he circled her and then sat down beside her on the bench. He settled with a small breath, slouching deep into the seat and a small, wry smile lifted the corners of his lips as he looked up at the night sky. "What was it?" he asked her quietly. "That gave me away?"

She stared at him, leaning forward a bit to get a better look at this version of the Doctor without being obvious. And he lowered his head, his eyes sliding her way blankly. "Um…it was the circles. Under your…" She broke off, biting her lips slightly. "You look exhausted, Doctor. You have these circles…under-"

He nodded in understanding, gazing at her gently.

"What are you doing here?" she asked him curiously. "When are you from? And why do you look so…" she motioned to her own face, waving her hand slightly.

He shrugged tiredly. "Rough couple of weeks. It's nothing," he replied dismissively.

"Nothing," she stated almost crossly. "If there's one thing you don't do, it's lie to me. So out with it. C'mon." And she gestured for him to talk to her, sliding closer to him.

He watched her move, his brow drawing up slightly. As if the mere motion shook him to his core.

She froze, staring at him. "What's wrong?" she asked him worriedly, reaching down to his hand between them on the surface of the bench. Wrapping her fingers around his, she studied him intently, noting how pale he seemed to have gone. A moment later his fingers entwined with hers almost painfully and her lips parted, his grip frightening her. Grimacing, she lifted their joined hands and wiggled her fingers out from under his, instead taking it with her other hand and splaying it on her thigh as she turned toward him.

His face was drawn when she looked at him once more, her hand lightly brushing against his comfortingly. "What's happened? Why do you look like that?" she asked, feeling something tangle in her throat.

Gazing at her, his lips parting, he hesitated, searching her face and her eyes. And she didn't know what he saw there but a moment later he sat forward, leaning toward her and lifting his free hand to her face. She felt his fingers curl around her ear, his palm pressing to her cheek, and his Ninth incarnation had always taken hold of her that way, as if it would be the last time. She felt her breath catch as this version of him did it now, as he stared at her. She remained quiet, her silence mirrored by him as he searched her eyes, as he leaned his weight slightly on her thigh.

"I just needed to look. To know," he said to her earnestly, his voice urgent. "I needed to know that…that…"

She shook her head incoherently, straining to understand. "To know what?" she asked in confusion.

He shook his head as well, mouth tightening into a firm line. "To know that it was possible without somehow changing anything. Without-"

She merely stared at him for another long moment before abruptly coming to understand what he was saying. And as she understood, her jaw dropped open, her eyes widening. A hand immediately lifted to her mouth, her back snapping up straight as she turned to search the crowds of people surrounding them. "Oh! You-"

He brought her face to his, his hand dragging her back. "It's fine. We're fine. You just…can't tell me. The other me. Not me me. I already know I'm here, after all. If I didn't know I was here, well, that would be just plain strange. But I'm quite aware I'm here and I won't-" He broke off, pausing. "I won't be coming again."

She recoiled at that, her jaw slipping out of his hand slightly. "W-why not?" she asked him. As he settled back a bit she leaned toward him, reaching for him. "I want you to come back. I want to see you. As often as you want to see me, I want to see you. Any you. Any version of you," she said. And she offered reluctantly, "Just…not the two of you at once. All that time stuff you always go on about. That's bad, right? But maybe you can do something so I know it's you and not the other you? Maybe a different suit, a different color?" She paused, gazing at him. Then, tilting her head, she lifted a hand to his hair to brush a lock from his temple gently. "Blue would look good on you," she murmured, aware that he was staring at her with a mournful expression on his face, one she wished he would put away. "You have a blue suit in the TARDIS, never see you wear it but I know you have it. You can wear that one so I know it's you-"

He was already shaking his head at her, though a small smile curled his lips. "No. No more. I can't risk this anymore," he said, his fingers light across her cheek. "No matter how much I will want-"

As he hesitated, she stared at him. And she felt the question rise inside her, almost scared to ask but needing to know still. "Where am I, that you're coming back here to see me?" she asked shakily. "And how many times have you come back that I don't know about-"

"Ten minutes," he cut her off, his voice registering a sudden rush. "I told you ten minutes."

She stopped abruptly, confusion blossoming on her face. "Yeah. Wait, no. Not you, you. The other you told me ten minutes. He needed to go get something-"

"And he'll be back any moment," he said with a nod of understanding. "It's fine. I came for what I needed. I'm fine now. For now. For…always." And saying it, even he seemed uncertain of his own words. Closing his eyes and shaking his head, he stood, his hand slipping away from her face. Her other hand immediately stiffened on the hand she still held captive, bringing him to a stop.

"Why are you coming back to me?" she demanded of him, her fingers beginning to tremble slightly. "Where am I? Why am I not with you?"

He shook his head at her, his expression unexpectedly painful. "You're always with me," he whispered to her. And as she stared at him, her lips parted, he leaned toward her, his arm winding around her neck and dragging her to his shoulder. She went wordlessly, burying her face against the coarse material of his coat and breathing him in deeply, desperately. She didn't know what was going on but she suddenly didn't want him to go, didn't want him to have to go back to whatever was causing those circles under his eyes.

"Wait," she uttered fearfully, hearing his hearts pound in her ear, in her own chest. As he pulled back from her she was still reaching for him. "Wait, please, Doctor. Don't-" And a moment later he was releasing her, dragging his hand out from under hers, leaving her thigh cold. Without a look back, he darted into the throngs of people and was gone as she streaked to her feet in search of him.

"Doctor!" she cried after him, lifting herself on tiptoe, her hand feeling icy without his to hold.

"Yep, I'm here," he replied from off to the side. She spun around, watching with wide eyes as he stepped out of the crowd. His hair was windblown, his suit beautifully brown and he had no dark circles under his eyes. "Wonderful, you didn't wander off. I got what I was looking for! Just needed to tweak it a bit and-" He broke off, staring at her as tears rose in her eyes. "What's wrong?" he asked her quickly.

Wordlessly, merely shaking her head, she moved toward him and into his arms, uncertain she even knew what to say to him but knowing only that she needed to feel him hold her then.

He told me he would never come again to see me. And that was the second time he lied to me.

He rarely came with her when she went to visit with her mother. She doubted he would ever really like her mother. Put up with her, for her daughter's sake, yes. But actually deal with her, very doubtful. She smiled as she stepped out of her mother's flat, looking out over the balcony and down to the empty ground below. He hadn't even wanted to park the TARDIS too close. He was quite silly sometimes especially for an alien, she mused, as she leaned her arms on the balcony railing. Half the time he seemed like every other man on the bloody planet. And the thought warmed her even though the weather was still cool out.

"Did I make you smile like that?" he asked from close by.

She turned her head in surprise, her smile widening. "I thought you didn't want to be anywhere near my-" she began with a knowing laugh. And she broke off as he neared another step, hesitating against the side of the balcony. Studying him as he stood beside her in a blue suit, her smile slipped slightly but did not disappear completely. "Ah. And he returns to me," she teased quietly, turning to lean on an elbow, her other hand lifting to settle on her hip.

His own smile was soft, his eyes defined by the circles under them. "You always know when it's me," he said quietly.

She arched a brow at him. "You always look like that," she replied, pointing to his face with an index finger. "That and the suit kind of gives you away. It looks good on you, though." She turned back to the balcony railing, returning her other elbow to lean on it once more. When she remained silently fighting a smile from crossing her face fully, he drew closer, coming to hover beside her. And then he also leaned fully against the balcony, looking out over the Powell Estates with her.

They were quiet for a long while, her head raised to the breeze, his bowed toward his chest.

"You left kind of suddenly the last time," she murmured several moments later, her tone soft.

He nodded beside her uncomfortably. "Yeah…"

"And you said you wouldn't be coming back, that you would never come to see me again," she continued in a conversational tone, as if his words hadn't cut her in half before. It had been two whole months since she'd last seen this version of him and the circles under his eyes were still there, dark as ever.

He nodded once more, a bit more slowly. "Yeah…" he breathed in defeat.

She turned her head to look at his downturned head. "You keep lying to me like this, I might have to get cross with you," she said coyly and she grinned as he lifted his head to look at her, the corners of his lips turning up. "Is that a smile?"

The smile dropped away. "No," he said, feigning a sullen expression, bowing his head again.

But she knew that he remembered the first time he had exchanged those same words with her, the very first time she had encountered this new, new Doctor after his regeneration. "Yeah," she said wryly. And she turned, motioning for him to follow. "C'mon. Mum stepped out. Come inside."

He followed her with his eyes, stiffening slightly and causing her to stop halfway to her mother's front door. "I…don't think-" he said slowly.

She turned on her heels, already knowing what he was going to say. "Mum's not here and neither are you," she let him know, her eyes mischievous. "Besides it's cold out, colder than I like and I have nothing to wear over. So let's go."

Without another word, she turned the knob and entered her mother's flat, leaving the door ajar behind her. And she fought the smile that threatened to break over her face as she heard him finally enter several moments later, the door closing behind him. She paused in the middle of her mother's living room, turning to glance toward him, and he hadn't left the doorway, seeming uncomfortable.

"Are you just going to stand there, Doctor?" she asked him. She gestured for him to join her as she plopped down on the couch. This time she would hold it together, would not fall apart in time for her own Doctor to pick up the pieces. She hadn't even been able to tell him why she'd been a sobbing mess the last time. This time she would not allow that to happen.

Reluctant still, the Doctor came down the small hallway to the living room and paused beside a lamp table, reaching down to nudge a framed picture. She knew what that frame held. A picture of her as a teen, just before she had moved out with her old musician boyfriend. She turned her head from it, shaking it. She'd been foolish then. She was still foolish now, just not as much.

The Doctor glanced toward the bedrooms, seeming to listen to see if she had been telling the truth when she had said her mother had stepped out. She waited him out, watching him as he bowed his head, hands lifting to settle in his pockets. Then, rounding the couch, he slowed before sitting down beside her.

She waited for him to settle, turning onto her thigh and leaning her head on her hand, her elbow resting against the back of the couch. He seemed quite uncomfortable in her mother's flat, just like every other time he'd been made to enter. It was typical, she decided.

"Jackie's really not here?" he asked her quietly.

She felt the corner of her mouth turn up. "Nope," she answered softly, staring at him. And her tone brought him to look at her. "It's just you and me here."

Her words seemed to sink into him then quite clearly. He turned his head away quickly, his mouth opening to speak. "Then I think…that…" He moved to rise once more, gathering his coat through his pockets.

Her hand snaked out to wrap around his arm and she yanked him back down almost rudely, his face registering surprise. "Oh, no. Not this time, mate. You pulled that same stunt on me last time, left me a bloody mess for your…other-" she gestured toward her door, her lips twisting.

He was staring at her, his eyes having traveled down to her mouth. "My other self. Yeah. I remember that. Both times." He shook his head. "It's funny how I wouldn't know that day but it would all make sense later." He shrugged. "Time travel. It's a…"

"Funny thing," she replied quietly. And she scooted closer, tucking her leg underneath a bit more and sidling up beside him. He allowed her although he seemed the slightest bit uncomfortable, and she found that to be strange because she had never seen the Doctor uncomfortable like that. Not around her. With a small sigh, she reached out, wrapping her arms through his and leaning her chin down to rest on the edge of his shoulder, along the hard bone of it. "So," she began softly, embracing his arm tightly to her chest. "You wanna tell me why you keep coming back to me?"

He didn't turn to meet her eyes. "I've nowhere else I want to be right now," he replied to that and he chuckled faintly, bowing his head. "Even at the end of the world…you'll always be my last stop. Somehow. Anyway I can." He shook his head at his own words and she felt the sudden strain in him, the stiffness in his shoulders.

She bit back the small smile she felt yearning to come to life on her face. "What does future me have to say about that?" she asked him quietly.

He paused, head falling a bit as he searched for words. "I…like to think she wouldn't mind," he answered slowly, carefully.

She closed her eyes at his words, her lips tightening into a painful line. And she turned her head, resting her cheek on his shoulder instead and looking toward the telly. The screen was off and she could see herself reflected there beside the Doctor. The way she always wanted to be. "Am I dead?" she asked him reluctantly, already attempting to build a front should he have answered in the affirmative.

But he turned his head to look at her quickly, his eyes wide. "No! No, not at all," he replied in alarm.

She shifted her head, her cheek still pressed to his shoulder though she met his eyes. "Then…where am I?" she wanted to know, her expression pained.

He opened his mouth to speak, to search for the proper words. But then he merely shook his head, bowing his head once more. "I…don't really know anymore," he said with a slight shrug. "One day…it just all ends and we…separate. It's the kind of thing that…just happens-"

"No," she whispered, her tone hoarse. As he looked at her, his face weary, she said it again. "No. That kind of thing…it doesn't happen. Not to us. Because I would never leave you. I never would." And her tone was adamant, her arms tight around his. "You and me…we're supposed to happen. And I would never stop traveling with you, being with you. The only thing that would ever stop me from traveling with you is if you were to leave me, like…like Sarah Jane." And her voice softened a bit, the name spilling from her painfully. That had been a tough one, that experience. Facing a previous companion who'd had her heart broken by the Doctor. But not her. That wasn't going to happen to her. "But to stop, to just leave you. No. That's not going to happen. Not when I love you as much as I do."

His eyes widened slightly at her last words, shifting from her dark irises down to her mouth and then back up quickly.

"You know that, don't you?" she demanded quietly, uncertain as to what she was reading in his eyes but not liking it. "You know that? That I love you? That I would never, ever want to stop-"

She didn't even know what she would have said next. In the middle of her sentence, his hand swept up to take hold of her face, fingers sliding into her hair, his mouth pressing against hers desperately. She immediately stiffened, caught by surprise at his reaction but a moment later she released his arm, her hands lifting to his face, clutching him and unwilling to let him go. She felt the unshaven skin under her palms, the twin beats of his hearts pounding irregularly, beating harder than she was used to from him. But what she felt most, above all, was the rigid line of his shoulders, the tightness to his grip. As if he had never held her before and likewise did not wish to let her go.

Breaking the kiss momentarily, she pressed her forehead to his, her knee brushing his thigh as she shifted. His lips were parted before her, his eyes clenched shut, a wince on his face. She shook her head, her brow sliding across his as she did so. "It can't be that bad, kissing me-" she said in a small teasing tone to him, feeling as if something blocked the words from coming out, a thick ball of cotton lodged in the middle of her throat. She swallowed though as he didn't respond to her words, his head lifting the slightest bit, his breath mingling with hers. As if reaching that smallest bit would convince him she really sat there before him. She brought a hand toward his mouth, her fingers slipping across the line of his cheekbone to hover against his lips. Through the part of his lips she felt the heat of him, the slight heaving of his shoulders as he pressed closer to her and she trailed her fingertips along his bottom lip, leaning to kiss him where she passed her fingers. He didn't return the kiss, his fingers tightening across her jaw, and she reached for more, lifting herself on her thigh to be closer.

Turning his face from her suddenly, he pulled her against him, his hand leaving her jaw to wind around her neck, to crush her to him. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry-" he uttered against her ear, his words spilling from his lips frantically.

"What?" she asked, breathless and confused then. And she shushed him, shaking her head against his neck, her fingers wrapping the egde of his collared shirt. "Stop saying that, stop it-"

"I can't keep doing this, I can't-" he whispered, more to himself than her and she felt it when he clenched his jaw, when he growled against her cheek. Then, letting go of her completely, he drew back, shoving off the couch and moving toward the door.

"W-wha-" she cried after him, unable to even form words. She rose slightly off the couch, following him with her eyes as she stumbled to her feet. "Doctor-"

The slam of the door was her only response. And she was left in complete bewilderment, her lips feeling as if she missed something she desperately needed then.

I want to break every clock
The hands of time could never move again.
We could stay in this moment (stay in this moment)
For the rest of our lives
Is it over now hey, hey, is it over now

I want to be your last first kiss
That you'll ever have
I want to be your last first kiss

Inevitable - Anberlin

He would come to me when things got bad, he told me later. The first time he came to me, he'd just lost me. Bad Wolf Bay. Closing gaps in the universe. I didn't know anything about it at the time. The very first time, he'd been a complete stranger, standing in the streetlight, tears in his eyes. As if he'd just been reminded that I was no longer there. A little bit after the second time he had come to me, he'd just gotten a new companion. But she wasn't me. And the third time he'd come back to see me, my name had come up around the new companion, had come up in a confrontation, something about witches. The next time after that, he'd explained that he'd been feeling strange in his own body, had been taken over by an entity and had nearly been given a chance to kill someone. Anyone. Everyone. He recalled the incident as if it had just happened though it had been years. And he recalled the feeling, the horror, of having no control in his own body. His current companion wouldn't have understood, he had explained. But I would have, no matter what version, what time frame. I would have understood and he knew I would have comforted him. And so he had come back again. And every time he came back to see me, it was always with the understanding that his past self was not to know anything about it. Which became difficult after he came to see me after that. More and more difficult.

She was mad. Mad as hell. Who was he to go off with…with some French…

She broke off, leaning back against the wood of the park bench wearily. She had needed some time after that one, time away from him and away from Mickey. Just some time to herself in silence. She wanted a strong drink. And some quiet, a soft breeze. With no thinking involved, because thinking would inevitably bring her back to her earlier anger and heartache at having been left behind for that French woman. She shook her head at the thought, leaning forward and resting an elbow on her knee, her fingers lifting to rub at her eyes.

When she opened her eyes once more, he stood beside her, hands in his pants pockets. She started in surprise, not having expected him to be there. And a moment later, recognizing him through the blue suit, she gestured in slight irritation, turning her face from him. "I've had one of you piss me off today, are you going to do the same? Because I really can't take that right now-"

He merely shook his head and held out his hand to her.

She looked from his face to his hand and then instantly back to his face, seeing something there that she didn't understand and likewise didn't like. "What's happened? What's wrong?" she demanded, sitting up straight and searching his eyes. They were hooded, his face tired, but he remained silent, merely holding his hand out to her. Frowning, refusing to budge, she did take his hand although she used it to pull on him. "Are you all right?"

His lips parted as he inhaled deeply, his face seeming to clear a mere moment later, chasing away the circles some. "I'm about to do…something I shouldn't. But I…just-" He shook his head, as if he didn't know what he was trying to say either.

"You just need someone," she whispered, gazing up at him and meeting his eyes as he allowed them to fall back down to her.

"Yes," he replied with a weary nod.

"And this is going to be the last time," she continued, rising to her feet and coming closer to him, the beginnings of a wry smile curling her lips.

"Yes," he said again in response though she could tell quite clearly that even that answer was a lie. That he would always come back to her, his last stop. Always.

She raised her head to him, seeing something there in his eyes that she hadn't seen before but that made all the hairs on her arms rise, as if a current had gone through her. The expression there was new, but tendrils of it seemed to reach to other expressions he'd worn before, pieces of smiles and agony. She couldn't describe it. But she wanted to see more of that look, wanted to see what it could shift into if just pushed further.

And it seemed this time, he was going to be there for that ride. Taking his hand, she circled to his side as he turned to lead her. She didn't know where they were going as they began to walk and she didn't know when she would be back to her own Doctor but a part of her felt almost victorious that, even if he thought of the French blond woman, he would still always come back to her.

He led her to the TARDIS. For a moment she thought it her own and she came to a sudden stop, causing him to slow and then halt as well. Turning to her, he read her look instantly and murmured, "It's mine, not your Doctor's. Not yours." He released her hand, pulling out his key and slipping it into the lock, turning it a moment later.

"Will…will he know I'm here?" she asked him quietly, bringing him to a slow stop again.

He hesitated. "Not…until he becomes me," he replied. And he pushed open the door, waiting on her.

With a small nod, she lowered her head and slipped past him, in through the front doors of this future, yet wonderfully familiar, TARDIS. She took a step, then another step, lifting her head to core of the TARDIS in the center of the room as she heard the Doctor close the door behind them. And she would always be beautiful, the blue phone box, always welcoming. Feeling a smile lift her lips, she turned toward the Doctor and froze at seeing the expression on his face once more. The unfamiliar one, but the one that thrilled her to her very bones. She turned, suddenly understanding the conflict in his eyes. Pain and wonder at seeing her in the console room once more after they had parted ways. Maybe he thought he would never again see the day. And that thought made her hate her future self somehow, that she would leave him.

Because he obviously hadn't left her.

He came to her, a dark shadow stepping into the gold and blue light of the TARDIS core, and every part of her was suddenly on fire, confused by his expression but wanting more of it. Wordlessly, silently, he lifted his hands to her face in one fluid gesture as he reached her and he kissed her deeply, achingly. As if he could run out of time somehow. She returned his kiss, refusing to allow it to be a chaste one as their previous kiss had been. She was beyond that now, all her earlier anger rising inside her as if itching to come out of her in a fight. Barely breathing, only wanting to feel, she crushed him to her, pulling on him and lifting her hands to his hair, tangling her fingers in it. She had a slight memory of having done it before to him but she hadn't been in control of her body then, literally. And now she was wonderfully out of control as well but this she welcomed with every fiber of her being.

A soft sound came from him, a small groan that dragged out yearningly and she felt him part his lips to her, felt the slight brush of his tongue. The mere touch of it sent a delicious current through her and she instinctively pressed herself to him, her hips to his, her hair rising along her arms in hot shivers. His breath cut off at the motion, his shoulders heaving, and he almost went to shake his head, his jaw clenching.

"Don't you start that again," she ordered him breathlessly, reaching for his mouth once more, her hands dragging him down to her almost angrily. "If this wasn't what you wanted, you shouldn't have bothered coming back for me." And with those words she pressed her lips to his, demanding more, demanding everything.

He complied then, his lips parting, his tongue sweeping against hers in agreement. It was true and she knew it quite well. All his lies from the start, about never coming back, that's all they had ever been. Because he would always be dragged back to her, one way or the other. And the day she left him, she knew then, deep inside, that she would find her way back to him. Because there could never be a different end to their story. And the thought, that they were always and forever, almost pushed away her anger. Almost but not quite.

Taking a step back, she pulled him with her, refusing to break the kiss and refusing to release him. All the time she had spent with her own Doctor, she had always wondered about that specific part of their relationship, their friendship. Wondered if it would ever become more. And she had always thought that one day it would cross that threshold. She just hadn't known it would happen with this future version.

Another step still and she was climbing the ramp that led to the TARDIS console. She couldn't see a thing behind her, wouldn't have opened her eyes if her very life had depended on it. If they fell, if she tripped over anything, then she doubted she would even get up off the floor. Whatever was coming, it would happen right there, wherever she happened to land. The thought sent another shiver through her, a sigh leaving her. He responded to the sound, his hands falling from her face to wind around her waist, pulling her hips to his once more, fingers digging into the curve of her. And then his fingers shifted, pushing aside the hem of her jumper, slipping across flesh and clawing into the slope of her hips almost possessively. Swallowing, reaching, she took another blind step, her hands moving to his tie, taking hold of it to undo it. He didn't seem to notice, intent on feeling every part of her that he could. And she couldn't seem to figure out how to untie the damn thing, abandoning it for his mouth, for his tongue as he reached for more. "I…" she whispered between breaths, between hot kisses. "I can't get this…bloody tie-"

He released her hips with one hand, lifting it to the red knot and yanking it loose for her wordlessly, never once leaving her mouth. Within a mere moment, her hands managed to untie it completely and he bent to take hold of her by her bottom, lifting her to him forcefully. She went with a surprised gasp against his lips, her legs reflexively rising to wind around his waist but the movement only served to allow her more freedom. She slid the tie from his neck, out from under the collar of his shirt, and flung it away blindly. Not caring where it landed, she straightened to press herself against him, her arms winding around his neck tightly. He shifted from her mouth to look up at her and she returned the stare for a long moment. Distracted by his heaving shoulders under her arms, her tongue darted across her lips as a sign that she wanted more, that she wanted it all. With a short nod, his breath coming from him almost in gasps, he carried her the rest of the way to the console, seemingly aware that his room was just too far away. She motioned to the surface of the console dismissively, dipping to bury her face against his neck. Trailing her mouth across the sensitive skin there, she felt him shudder against her as he reached the controls and lowered her to the edge of it.

Upon feeling a surface under her, she dragged his hips against her center with her legs alone, her hands moving to undo the buttons of his shirt. He leaned his hands to the console on either side of her, for a moment simply standing in her embrace, his lips parting around heavy breaths. He tasted exotic to her somehow, her lips opening, her tongue slipping across his skin. The slight taste of salt and something else, something she was unfamiliar with. The same taste of his mouth, his tongue. Of his entire body, she assumed as she slid down the column of his neck, as she bit into the skin at the join of his collarbones. He tilted his head against hers, a rumble reverberating inside him, and she wanted to hear that sound again, wanted to hear him speak to her with that low hoarseness to his voice.

Managing to undo the buttons, she took hold of his suit jacket and pulled it down from his shoulders, yanking forcefully. His hands left the console to hang at his sides and the jacket slid off his limbs, falling to the floor of the TARDIS quietly. With a soft groan, she pulled him close to her once more, one of her hands lifting to curl around his neck, the other trailing down the skin of his chest, pushing aside the useless shirt. She loved the feel of him, she realized then, her mouth returning to his, opening for him to taste her. She loved the line of his collarbone, the indentation of his shoulder, and the heat of his kiss, the way he made her insides clench almost painfully. His hands returned to the console, returned to take hold of her by the waist, fingers slipping under her jumper once more and trailing upward across soft, hot skin. His fingers were slightly cool to the touch, sending shivers through her stomach and ribs, down to her center. A moment later he seemed to realize that he didn't want quite so many barriers between them. Pulling back slightly, his forehead pressed to hers as he took hold of the hem of her jumper, as he began to slide it up along her frame. Breathing unevenly, she attempted to rid him of the shirt, only realizing dimly that he wouldn't be able to pull off the shirt until he was done helping her with her jumper. She raised her arms to release him and he lifted the sweater, her hair tangling in it as it was stripped from her and falling back to her shoulders thickly, a waterfall of gold threads and tangles.

He seemed to see her then, his eyes coming to rest on her and she understood then just how much he loved her. Even as he had never said it, had still yet to say it, she suddenly felt it emanate from him in waves, palpable. She returned his stare, heaving and feeling very exposed sitting there in jeans and a bra but it was just right, the feeling. The coolness on her hot skin and the way his eyes seemed to burn her, two complete opposites that wreaked havoc inside her. A moment later he took hold of her once more, his hands lifting, one to her face. And he pressed it against her cheek, the same way his other self used to, trapping her hair to her face. His thumb brushed across her lips before he returned to her with his mouth, before he kissed her desperately once more. She parted her lips for him, a moan trailing from her as his other hand dropped from her shoulder down to the curve of her breast, to brush it with cool fingertips. She shifted closer to him, her hands sliding across his torso, inhaling his scent as it drifted from his skin, her nails dragging across his flesh. It brought a small sound to his lips, his fingers pulling on the strap of her bra, causing it to slide off her shoulder. She shuddered as he yanked slightly on the edge of the cup, as his touch slipped across sensitive flesh, the slightest groan leaving her mouth. But the moment he had touched her, he shifted away, unwilling to leave completely but resisting the urge to feel her fully. His fingers tangled in the strap of her bra, his palm warm under her breast, her shoulders heaving at having him so close.

Disinclined to pull away or back down, she straightened to him, kissing him with renewed strength, her fingers moving from his waist to the slight hair across the front of his hips. He jumped faintly and she bit back the laugh that threatened to rise inside her. One of his tender spots, the skin right around his hips. Reaching again, she brushed her nails across his skin there, feeling the muscle shift and clench under her fingers, a low breath sliding from his kiss. She could almost taste that groan on his tongue, inching closer to him, wanting to press her center to him, to connect. Blindly, she lowered both hands to his pants, to undo the button there. He went rigid for a moment in the middle of his kiss, uncertain. But she was quite certain. And she pulled back from him slightly, meeting his eyes as he opened them to look at her intently.

"Here. Right here. Now," she whispered to him firmly, his hand still pressed to her face.

His lips tightening to a straight line, he took a step back, refusing to release her still as she slid down to the floor of the TARDIS to stand before him. And she took hold of his hands, both of them, bringing them to the button of her jeans. He looked down at his hands there, his head bowed, his shoulders stiff.

"I'm not going to force you," she said to him, tilting her head to catch his eyes. "But if you don't follow through on this right now…I might have to get mad at you." She smiled slightly, her hand lifting to press to his arm, her other rising to his face.

He still hesitated, almost unaware of her teasing. And just as she thought he would pull away from her, his fingers deftly undid the button of her jeans, his expression seeming to resign itself. She stared at him, uncertain as to why she was surprised that he had actually done it. But she shoved it aside a moment later, lowering her hands to her jeans and pushing them from her hips down to her knees to kick them off as they fell to her feet. He watched her silently, seeming to grimace faintly as she turned her attention to her panties and slid them down as well, pushing them aside a moment later.

"I want this," she said to him softly as she moved close to him once more, her hand lifting to his face. He turned it from her slightly and she pressed the smallest kiss to her cheek, to the smooth skin there. And then another kiss, this one closer to the corner of his mouth. Then one last one, now to his lips. He sighed as she did so, his bowed head finally turning to hers to return her kiss, to return to her fully. Arms lifting, he pressed against her, hands dragging up the sides of her hips, winding toward her waist. And as she took a step back toward the console, he bent to her gently, lifting her into his arms and up to the console to seat her there.

Wordlessly, she moved toward his pants once more, lowering the hem down his narrow hips slightly until gravity pulled them to the floor. With a strained breath, her mouth lifting to his, she inched closer to him, nothing between them now except whatever barrier he still wished to keep in place. But as he tilted his head, his hands splaying across the back of her hips and pulling her to him, she understood that he had taken down those walls the moment she had stripped of her clothes.

Silently, his hand sliding to the inside curve of her knee, he opened her to him and pushed against her, entering her slowly, almost painfully. Meeting his eyes, her lips parting, she exhaled as he moved, as he slid in to the hilt, her entire frame stiff around him. Her eyes closed slowly at feeling him deep inside and he pulled her closer to him, pressing his hips to hers, his forehead brushing against hers. She could almost read his mind then as he merely seemed to wait, his shoulders rising and falling erratically under her hands. Dropping a hand down to the console beside her, she lifted her hips, bringing him to groan softly against her mouth with the gesture. "Don't stop," she urged him then, her other hand rising to his face, bringing him to lift his head. She slid her fingers to wind into his hair, to anchor there firmly, her entire body throbbing. "Don't stop-"

With a small sound, one that seemed to carry anger at himself, he pulled out of her slowly, his jaw clenching before returning once more, a long thrust that caused her to stiffen and cry out shakily. And then another thrust, pulling out and shoving back in, more forcefully, giving in. She leaned back slightly as his arm circled her waist, tightening, and she allowed herself to feel, allowed herself to be carried away. When was the last time she had felt like this, free and alive? With him, always with him. But this, now, was something more, something she didn't know she could feel. She felt him rock her, felt herself open to him as he moved inside her, as he breathed against her and she reached for his mouth, fingers tightening in his hair with a vice-like grip. His body came to settle on her as he leaned over her, as he pushed into her again and again and she enjoyed the precarious feeling of being on an edge with nothing but him to hold her from it. Even the very way she was seated on the console sent her spinning, her knees and thighs pressed to his waist, her legs dangling over nothing but air, supported only by one hand sliding across controls as she fought to hold on, to meet each of his movements. His thrusts were coming stronger now and she could only ride it, a hot heat beginning in her center and spreading throughout, her body responding almost viciously. She never wanted him to stop, wanted to hear him make those sounds he was making always, feeling lean muscle and skin under her arms as he moved. She wanted that to be her entire life, locked in a room with only him, forever. And she wanted time to stop, wanted to be able to stop it for him. For the both of them.

A shuddering cry slipped from her lips as he lowered her further, as he pressed her down to the console and he did not stop moving, his hands coming to wind around the curve of her hips, pulling her closer, as if they could melt together. She reached for him, her hand leaving the console now that he had her pinned to the controls and she shifted, opening herself more to him, her arm winding around his waist and pulling him closer. His mouth came down on hers, his tongue tasting her demandingly and she returned his kiss, refusing to allow him to stop, to even slow down. She was feeling a familiar heat inside, at her very core, as he pressed against her again and again, brushing against her with the motions. And she knew exactly what kind of rhythm would send her careening over the edge but she wanted it to last forever, this feeling of falling through time.

His shoulders tight as he shoved into her, he shook his head still, his eyes clenched shut. She lifted her hand from his waist, smoothing away the lines of his brow and murmured breathlessly, "Don't think. Don't think-" And she cried out, a sharp sound that caused him to bury his head against her neck as he thrust into her, as he moved to take her over completely. She allowed herself to be overcome by that feeling, of him consuming her, allowing him to ride her as if this would be the only time. And she realized right then and there that this would never be the only time, the last time. This would follow her into eternity. This feeling, of being taken by him, she would crave it from then on, even from her current Doctor. The slight fear that rose inside her at that thought did nothing to cool her heat though, and she felt that heat mount at the notion of him always coming back for her, even if just for this. Rising slightly, shifting her hips and tightening around him deep inside, she caught the arousal that crossed his face, the way his fingers clenched down on her hips and she moved to murmur against his ear, to push him on. Every single brush of him was sending shivers through her, her desire mounting, the heat searing her from the inside out. She needed him to go faster, to push harder and to ride her forever.

"Doctor," she whispered, her brow drawing in almost painfully.

As if reading her mind, his hands shifted up the lines of her waist to her ribs, one hand coming to her breast and pulling the edge of the bra down to bare her skin to him. Kissing her, his tongue sweeping against hers, he trailed his fingers across her breast, his other hand lifting up the smooth flesh of her back to her shoulder and clamping on as he pounded against her harder, threatening to almost break her. She also felt as if she would come apart, her cries now cutting into the earlier silence in the TARDIS, her flesh burning. She went to speak, to try to form words under his mouth but all that came out were incoherent syllables and his name, always his name, in gasps and shouts, in quivering whispers. Her name was on his lips as well, in between hard kisses, as his mouth came open against hers, as he thrust into her with every utterance. And she could feel then how close she was, how little it took for him to steer her clear off the edge.

Rising up suddenly, he yanked her off the controls to meet him on a hard thrust and she felt herself break, felt a cry rip from her as she felt heat explode inside of her. She half sat up, her head thrown back as she gasped and he leaned into her, his hand lifting from her shoulder to cup her by the back of her neck. She felt him bury his head under her jaw and she couldn't have even moved, her body convulsing as wave after wave of pleasure raced through her stiff frame, so strong it was almost painful. And even then he was still moving, still shoving into her, pushing her to keep going. She wanted to stop and feel and continue all at once and she allowed him to keep pushing into her, pulling back and thrusting in, his hand curled around the back of her neck, his breaths hot against her ear. She felt how wet she was around him, how he slid against her and it almost hurt, the waves of her orgasm, as he continued to push against her. But she couldn't have stopped him, would never have tried, not with this feeling. Never. Rocking against him, she urged him on breathlessly, faster, harder, even as she realized she could barely feel him through the delicious shivers coursing through her. And he complied as he trembled, as he whispered her name in her ear, as his mouth bit into the soft skin of her neck, hard enough to leave a mark.

A moment later, through a complete haze, she felt him stiffen, stopping in mid-thrust inside her. And his hand, taking hold of her by the hip, tightened enough to almost crush bone. He breathed against her skin, hissing slightly, his lean arms hard around her as he peaked. And as he came inside her, her name left his lips at the same time. She made a small breathless sound as she felt him swell inside of her, straining. And then, almost weakly, he bent forward to fall on top of her wearily, his shoulder heaving against her mouth as she bowed her head to it.

The silence that fell in the TARDIS was not a comfortable one but she wouldn't have sacrificed what had just happened between them for anything. Her vision clearing, she shifted her fingers across the back of his neck to sift into the hair there gently. It was soft, damp, his scent all around her then. Closing her eyes, her arms slick around him, she waited for him as he stirred slowly, his lips brushing across her cheek and then her jaw, lightly. She bent her head to kiss the lean curve of his shoulder, her tongue trailing across the slight sweat there and tasting his saltiness on it. He tasted wonderful. He would always taste wonderful to her. Lifting himself from her slightly, he merely stared at her for a long moment, his breath evening out as she returned the look.

"Don't tell me you already regret it," she said to him quietly. She shook her head at him. "I don't want to hear that right now."

He shook his head as well. "I don't regret it. Not now. Not ever." And the expression that crossed his face was almost peaceful then, the dark circles under his eyes having disappeared for the time being.

When she returned to her own TARDIS, the Doctor was at the console and she did a double take, seeing where the circles had gone from the Doctor she'd just left. She slowed as she climbed up the ramp and paused by the console. And looking down at the controls, she felt her stomach flip icily. She was never again going to be able to look at that console the same way.

On the jump seat, the Doctor lifted his head to her, seeming to just see her. His face cleared somewhat, a slip of paper in his hand finding its way back into his suit pocket. "Ah, Rose. There you are. Ready to go?" And without waiting for an answer, he hopped to his feet, bowing his head to the controls. She made to reply and her words died on her lips then. She couldn't even respond to him, she realized shakily. Looking at him, watching his every movement, all she saw was his nude frame, slick with sweat, his lips parted around her name as he came inside her.

She managed to make out a small, "Yeah, ready-" as he suddenly straightened, his head tilting slightly.

Inhaling deeply, a frown crossing his face, his eyes shifted toward her although he didn't meet her stare. "Were you…out with Mickey?" he asked her quizzically.

The back door of the TARDIS console room shut loudly then and they both turned to look at Mickey as he came up to join them. "Not me," he replied and he plopped himself down on the jump seat to wait.

She turned her eyes back toward the Doctor as he finally met her gaze, his expression one of complete confusion. Then his stare dropped to her neck. She suddenly knew what he was thinking, what he had just seen. Almost frantically, she raised her hands to the collar of her shirt to drag it over the red mark left behind by his future self. He knew things about her, could sense things even she didn't know about herself. Right then, the mere thought making her cringe, she knew he was smelling her, the scent of her arousal and the smell of consummation. And he was questioning who would dare leave a mark on her because she didn't think he knew who it was she had been with. "I'm going to go shower and then nap for a bit," she said, turning her face from his and smiling awkwardly as Mickey waved at her.

And feeling the Doctor's eyes on her, she floated out of the TARDIS console room, a hand lifting to her head in sheer humiliation.

He came fairly frequently after that time. Always when I least expected it but, I realized later, when I needed him most. He was there when Mickey stayed behind in that alternate world, making love to me even as I had cried. Holding me after until I'd had to go back to the other Doctor.

The day we encountered the black hole in the sanctuary base with the Ood, he came to me that night. I knew that days when I needed my Doctor, when I needed more from him that he was willing to give, that I could always find him outside and he would be there in the way my Doctor couldn't. Being a future version of my Doctor, I know he remembered all the times I excused myself to leave for a few hours, for a night if I was visiting with my mum. And he came very close to catching me that night, my Doctor, something I didn't forgive him for, not for a long time after. But it wouldn't have stopped me from traveling with him. Although I had wondered sometimes if it was tricks like those which had made me leave him one day.

She moved down the street, her head down, her arms wrapped around her frame, clothed in a loose, strappy shirt and a jean skirt. It wasn't cold out anymore but she felt icy inside, alone. The creature's words to her, about the Valiant Child. It wasn't her. It would never be her. Because she didn't die. She just left him one day, it was what he'd said. That's all it was. Though she couldn't figure out why she would ever leave him. After Madame De Pompadour, after that awkward moment in the TARDIS, everything had gone back to normal. Mickey had remained in that other world and they had moved on. But tonight, it was just not enough, her Doctor's words and consolation. And she was finding it harder and harder to keep those lives separate, the days and the nights. There were moments she found herself acting more as a lover than a companion to him, times when she would fight the urge to undo his tie or pull his suit from his frame. Even moments when she leaned in to kiss her own Doctor only to have him turn his face unknowingly, a smile on his lips and in his eyes.

Slowing, passing by a small alleyway, she paused in front of a department store window, seeing herself reflected there in the glass. She looked tired. Shaking her head, she lifted her hands to her eyes to rub away the weariness and when next she looked at herself, he was beside her, hands in his pockets. With a grateful sigh, she merely turned to him and held out her arms, waiting. He enveloped her in his embrace wordlessly, burying his face against her neck with a slight exhalation.

"You always find me," she murmured against his ear, her hands curling around his shoulders, a hand tangling in the hair at the nape of his neck. A tiny shiver coursed through him as she did so, his frame stiffening faintly but she ignored it, turning her head to press a kiss to the small spot beneath his ear. The spot he enjoyed so much.

He pulled away from her, staring at her intently, his hands trailing to hold hers lightly.

With a small smile, she asked impishly, "And how was your day?"

He returned the smile slightly, cocking his head at her. "Saved the day again. But you should know that. You were there with me."

She blinked at him, at his words, the small smile slipping a bit. And then, in understanding, she felt the blood leave her face, her eyes dropping downward. Brown suit. Dark tie. White Converse. "Right! No, right, I was!" she said to him quickly, realizing the Doctor before her was her very own Doctor. She turned from him, looking back at the department store window but she felt his eyes on her and she couldn't help but feel that he could read her mind with a mere look. Struggling to focus on the clothes on display, she swallowed thickly. "W-what are you doing here anyway?"

It took him a moment to respond. "You looked like you needed a friend," he replied.

She almost looked at him. Actually, what she needed was a good screw, she thought inwardly. And she grimaced faintly.

He continued on, winding around her to look up the street blindly. "I stopped by your mother's flat after dropping you off there but she said you went out. Thought I'd come look for you, see if you were all right-"

"I'm fine," she nodded quickly, glancing toward him but only seeing his back. Brown suit. She turned away to face the display once more, her arms crossing over her chest. "I'm fine. Really."

He nodded, still turned from her. "I also wanted to meet the person you go off to see whenever I bring you home to your mother." And this time there was something in his tone that she positively did not like.

Her lips parting, teeth grinding slightly, she turned now to glare at his back. "You…came to spy on me," she whispered quietly. Coldly.

He turned to her, meeting her glare. "That's a bit harsh, wouldn't you say?" he asked her with an arch to his brow, taking in her suddenly tight frame and dark expression. "I just wanted to meet-"

She cut him off. "You have no right to do this, to try to trick me like this."

He frowned at her. "Trick you? Rose, I wanted to make sure you were ok. If you have someone you see, I'm not going to drop you back at home and leave you. I want you to stay with me, to keep traveling with me. I just want to know if this will be the one who will convince you to…leave, one day. To stay on Earth." And he lifted his hand to scratch at his neck awkwardly, the same spot she had touched and caressed only moments ago.

She stared at him, her anger draining slightly at his uncomfortable expression. He was questioning already, this version of him. Was it possible she left him soon, any day now? "There's…there's never going to be anyone…to get me to stop traveling with you," she said to him quietly. As he lifted his head to her response, she sent him a tired shadow of a smile. "I'm never going to leave you."

And she knew what he wanted to say. That there was someone she was leaving him for already, some nights. Even though he would never be with her the way she needed him to be, the way she wanted him to be, he was still her friend. And he still cared for her.

She shook her head at him, reaching out and taking his hand when he lifted it to her. "Go on back to the TARDIS, Doctor. I just want a few minutes to myself. Get that…thing's words out of my head."

His fingers tightened on hers, his face suddenly adamant. "It lied, you know," her said to her softly, his tone firm. "You're not going to die. I won't allow it."

A small smile curling her lips, she shook her head once more, wryly. "And you do know that I am going to die one day, right?" she shot back at him. She motioned to herself, from her chest down to her feet. "One day, this body's not going to be around. Then what are you going to do?"

He came to her, his eyes narrowing as he returned a smile. "Rose Tyler, you're going to live forever. I'm going to try my damndest to make sure of it." And this time, when he embraced her, she remembered to keep her lips to herself and her thoughts clean.

It wasn't until after he had left, after she had composed herself, that the other one showed himself. Stepping from the alleyway, a knowing expression on his face, he lifted a hand to her face and gently trailed his fingers down her cheek and neck, following the movement with his eyes. She shivered as he did so, turning to look at him, her arms crossed over her chest. "And which one are you?" she demanded quietly, already knowing by the weariness on his face and the shade of his suit.

"He's a quick one," he replied softly, his fingers hovering over the nape of her neck. "I am, rather. Have you thinking I really only came here to make sure you were fine."

She frowned at him slightly. "Didn't he? You? Didn't you?" she asked him faintly.

The smile was there now but there was no humor to it. "I wanted to see who your lover was," he answered her truthfully, almost mockingly. And as she allowed his words to sink in, she saw the set to his jaw, the hardness in his eyes. And her own anger, while rising once more, was pushed aside as worry rose as well.

"It was a bad day," she stated knowingly, her eyes widening, gazing at him.

"For both of us," he murmured with a nod.

Of course he would know. He would know all about those words about her, about her death. He would know it all because he had been there before, had stood exactly where his previous self had just been. She stared at him, anger mixing with sorrow inside her. With a shake of her head, knowing then only that she needed him like a drug, the same way he needed her, she went to him. And straight into his kiss, his hands lifting to her face, his thumb trailing across her bottom lip before his mouth came down across hers desperately. The kiss was hard, heated, her heart instantly racing at his mere caress. She would never get over his touch, would never be able to give him up. Whatever happened between them, his kiss and his touch would not be the ones to end their affair. Never. She would have her eternity with him, no matter what.

Taking her hand in his, he broke the kiss, his lips trailing to her cheek as her eyes closed, as she lifted her arms for him to embrace her. And he did so, bringing her captive hand to his hearts, his other hand winding around her waist and pulling her close. "Come with me," he whispered against her ear, his lips brushing her skin delicately.

She nodded, her heart skipping. "Yes. Always."

His head bowing to hers, seeming to breathe her in, he pulled away from her and took her with him, leading the way into the alley. Following him silently, she saw the TARDIS in a shaft of moonlight, resting against the far back wall and she slowed, her lips parting.

"You were here the entire time?" she asked him, motioning back the way they had come, back to the department store display.

"Oh, yes."

She stared at him, still allowing him to lead her. "Have you gone completely mad?" she demanded of him. "What if he had seen you? What if he saw your TARDIS? Then what would you have done, you great big-"

"Idiot?" he supplied for her, dropping her hand as they reached the TARDIS doors, as he fished for his key. "Trust me, Rose. I was so hellbent on finding out who your mystery caller was, I wouldn't have recognized myself had I been two feet away. Which I wasn't." He unlocked the door, slowing, a hard smile curling his lips. "I was fifteen feet away."

She shook her head at him, her arms crossing over her chest.

"And you're not mad," he said to her, his voice dipping as he leaned toward her. Opening the door dismissively, he drew close to her, dropping a slight kiss to her lips. "If you were really mad, you wouldn't stay," he breathed against her mouth, his caress sending shivers through her.

She lifted her arms to him, wrapping them around his neck. "I would stay," she murmured against his lips, sighing as he kissed her, as he dragged her into the TARDIS and closed the door behind her. "I would stay forever. But I would still be mad."

He nodded slightly. "Yeah."

"Yeah," she replied. And she looked around the empty console room. "No one around?"

His expression shut down at her question, swallowing roughly. "She went home," he said to her stiffly. As she glanced up at him, he merely shook his head. "Too much happened. Too many things remembered. One too many years lost."

"You're not making sense," she said to him quietly.

"No," he agreed. But he didn't say anything more as he took her hand in his and led her past the console, to the door in the back. They passed through into the hallways and she recognized the way to her bedroom. To her old bedroom, here. Looking up at him, she didn't feel anything when he didn't acknowledge the stare. It had been a bad day after all, for the both of them. They would just have to make it better the only way they knew how.

Coming to her room, he pushed the door open, allowing her to go in ahead of him. She did so, entering the room and finding everything exactly as she had always had it. She frowned slightly, looking around in puzzlement. With words tangling in her throat, she turned to look at him as he entered behind her and closed the door. "It's like I never left," she said to him in confusion. "W-why wouldn't I take my things when I leave you?"

He gazed at her. "Does it matter?" he asked her softly.

Yes, it mattered. It mattered very much. It made the situation different, made her question her reasons for leaving and for not taking anything with her. But the expression on his darkened face mattered more at the moment. She shook her head then, allowing it to bow. "No, I suppose not," she answered. She was not to know her future as it was. She could only live her life in the present with any gift afforded her. And he was the rare one. She turned to face him fully, her arms hanging at her sides limply. Waiting.

He did not leave her to wait long. Silently, his face almost mournful, he removed his coat, tossing it aside. She watched him, seeing his reflection in the small dresser mirror against the wall, out of the corner of her eye. Watched as he took a step in her direction, his hands lifting to his tie to loosen it, his expression mysterious. He seemed uncaring tonight, almost black. This day had been worse than she had expected.

Wordlessly, he floated toward her, his hand lifting to her face. And for a long moment he merely stared at her, a muscle clenching in his jaw as he studied her silently. She allowed him, her face slightly pinched as well, wishing she could read his thoughts, discover what had made the day such a bad one for him. But with the one look, she also knew that night's session would not be gentle.

Pressing himself to her, his hand trailed from her face to the strap of her sleeveless shirt, dipping under it and dragging it down carelessly. She tilted her head away from it, away from his fingers, waiting for him as he merely watched his hand slide across her shoulder. She didn't know what she read there in his expression, only that he seemed to be shutting down slightly. And she understood the feeling, knew what it was to need the comfort of someone's body more than words. His hand looped under her bra strap as well, also dragging it down her shoulder, and she closed her eyes, wanting him then more than she wanted to breathe, to think. His other hand rose to cradle her jaw, both hands lifting now to her face, to raise it to his. And his kiss was gentle in the first few moments, his breathing hitched.

A moment later, the kiss turned hard, a frown creasing his brow. She didn't understand why but she allowed him to open her mouth to his, allowed him to taste her deeply. The soft sigh that escaped her was returned to her, his shoulders falling as he exhaled as well. This was what he needed, she knew. The same way she needed it. The way she would always need it.

What would she give to stay like this forever in his embrace? Quite a lot. Which was why she was always stumped when she questioned why she would leave him. But not then. At that moment, she questioned nothing, merely allowing his lips to take her away, wishing with all her might for the ability to stop time for him, to keep them both locked away where no one could ever reach them again.

The kiss suddenly turning forceful, she tilted her head back, surrendering completely to him. He took that sacrifice almost urgently, his hand falling to her shoulder once more, to her breast. And he broke the kiss, both of his hands moving to rid her of the shirt, lifting it up and over her head. She lifted her arms to allow him, reaching for him, but he merely shook his head at her, taking hold of her and turning her to face the wall. She did so, staring in confusion but instantly going numb when she felt his hands on her shoulder, his lips at her neck. Inhaling deeply, she sighed, her head falling back slightly as his mouth brushed across her shoulder, his fingers dragging her bra straps down to kiss her there, to drag his lips across the soft skin.

No. There was no way she would allow this to ever end. She would never allow him to go nor would she ever leave him. Not when he made her feel this way.

His hands slipping down to her breast, she felt a small sound escape her as he cupped her from behind, as his fingers shifted across her torso, lifting to her neck and lowering to her waist. She wanted his touch all over her, always. Lifting a hand, she curled it into his neck, tilting her head back to kiss him but he nudged her forward, his mouth passing across the back of her neck, his hand sliding to the zipper of her skirt. She wasn't going to need that, she understood. As he undid it, she let him slip it down her hips to her feet, and she hadn't even bothered with panties. She had stopped with those the moment she had known what to expect when he visited her. Now, the less clothes, the better. Arching, she felt his hand move lower, to pass across her thighs as his other hand lifted to the clip of her bra. She smiled slightly, wondering if he was one of those men who could undo a bra with one hand and yes, he was. She felt a breeze trail across her naked skin as he loosened the bra straps from her arms, tossing it aside absentmindedly. And then he lifted both hands to her once more, one brushing across a full breast and holding her, the other dipping into her, reaching. She felt a low moan leave her lips as his fingers reached for more of her, as he pressed against her back. She felt him clear through his trousers, wondering momentarily at the back of her head why he was even still dressed.

A moment later it didn't matter as he pushed her slightly, ushering her toward her dresser. She reached for it blindly, her hands coming down on its surface, pushing aside the small items she'd stacked on it. Nail polishes, perfumes, lotions and creams. She didn't need any of it as she gasped, as his teeth nipped at the skin of her shoulder, his hand tightening across her breast. Sliding her eyes open, she caught a glimpse of herself reflected, naked and flushed. And he was behind her, the curve of his jaw, his lean arms as they wrapped around her, reaching for more. Closing her eyes, she brought her hand down on the dresser surface almost violently, her lips parted around a groan. "Hurry," she ordered him, a soft sound slipping out as he trailed his fingers across her hip and then back down, into her. "Doctor, hurry."

He wasn't the type to be rushed, it seemed, and though she asked him to, she was fine with his pace still. So long as it always felt like this. He stood her straight, pushing her hair forward for him to brush a kiss across her back and she felt his hand shifting at her back, against her rear. Dropping her head back, she felt him do away with his pants, feeling his hardness against her. She waited for him, feeling his hand as it lifted to cup her face, his other hand slipping into her, into her folds and brushing against her roughly. The motion forced her to bend forward, a sound tangling in her throat as he urged her legs apart, as he buried his mouth against her neck.

And then, breathing against her ear, he was inside of her in one sweet thrust, her body reflexively arching into him. The cry that broke from her also caused her to stiffen, supporting herself across the dresser. She didn't know what to feel, couldn't focus on anything. From his mouth, to his fingers against her core, to his head inside of her, she could only allow him to take her over, her heart instantly racing. Could she stay like this forever, in this exact place? Yes, yes she could stay here always. For all eternity.

From behind, his lean frame against her back, he spread his fingers around her, rubbing almost frantically. She cried out, urging him to move, wanting him to consume her entirely. She never wanted to feel anything except this for the rest of her life. He moved behind her, pulling away and then shoving into her and she recognized the strength in his gestures, recognizing the darkness she had glimpsed earlier in his face. She bent forward, arching into him and his hands left her, his mouth lifting away as he turned his attention to her back, to her reflection. She knew what he saw there, what she looked like. And she knew she was the most beautiful thing in the world to him then. In the midst of lovemaking, her lips parted and his darkness behind her light, she understood that the picture of them together was mesmerizing to him.

She met his eyes through the reflection but only for a moment as he shifted, as one of his hands took hold of her hip, the other tangling in her hair and pulling slightly. A cry rang out from her and she bowed her head, her shoulders stiffening as he began to thrust in earnest. In and out, sliding into her heat and pulling out, slipping across sensitive skin. He was used to her by then, she knew, aware of what she liked, what drove her to make certain sounds. And he knew the sound of his skin against hers seemed to stimulate her, as did the very image of it. Which was why he had come to her room, to use that mirror. She lifted her head, exhaling shakily, and his face was dark, his gestures forceful. Almost angry. She bit back a cry as he pounded into her, as he rammed against her violently. He was mad, his hands angry as he pulled on her, but it didn't matter to her because it only aroused her all the more. She wanted his anger, his punishment, splaying herself for him to take. She flipped her hair from her face, pushing against the dresser as he thrust into her, seeming to want to split her. And she wanted it, all of it, anything he had. The forcefulness sent the rest of the items on her dresser tipping off to the floor, falling silently. All she heard were her own cries and his own breath against her ear, against her neck.

"Faster," she whispered then, causing him to bend into her to hear her. "Faster," she repeated around a soft plea, her hands tightening against the dresser.

He wrapped his arms around her, heeding her words and obeying, crushing her to him. And she knew then, as she had known before, that he loved her. After everything, he was still in love with her. The mere thought caused her to forget everything else, to forget why she would leave everything when she left him, why his face would be black as night. All that mattered then was that he loved her and that he was seeking solace in her body, in her very self. And she gave it to him through hitched cries, allowing him to ride her against the dresser angrily, painfully. She was going to bruise, she realized. She was going to hurt in the morning but they would only be battle scars. This was a war she was quite willing to lose to him.

His hands took hold of her, her mind instantly going white, and he pulled free of her, yanking her to face him. She turned, half stumbling against him and against her own dresser. But she had no time to even reason with what was going on behind her haze. All she understood was his mouth on hers, his lean arms taking hold of her tightly. Her figure stiffened against the dresser, unwilling to break the kiss, reaching for him still. And he did not move away from her, reaching to lift her up onto the surface of the dresser roughly. She leaned back along the top of the dresser, opening for him. He returned to her, thrusting into her as if he had never left, his hands lifting to her face and bringing her to return his kiss. She groaned against his mouth, feeling herself shift across the top of the dresser from the force of him, her legs lifting to wind around his waist. He filled her completely, his hips ramming against hers as he growled into her mouth, as he took hold of her thighs to pull her closer to him, to merge them together.

Throwing her head back, she lowered her hands to the dresser top, allowing herself to lean backward, to let him take a look at her. He always desired her, always wanted to watch her, to see the expressions flit across her face as he made love to her. It took everything away, he had said to her once, when they had lain in bed together, limbs tangled. And now, as he watched her, she felt beautiful, untouchable. Even by him. As if nothing could ever bring her back down to Earth. She felt as if she was in the sky all by herself, reaching for stars and he was pushing her on ahead of him. But this was purely physical, she understood a moment later, her head bowing so she could meet his dark eyes. This was exactly what they both needed. To no longer be tethered to a planet, to a world so cold it was painful. They needed each other and they needed to be free.

Rocking against him, she lifted a hand from the surface of the dresser and took hold of him by the jaw, closing her eyes as waves of heat rode through her entire body. Her lips parting, she meant to ask him to hurry, to go faster, to help her, to finish her, all of it. But all that came out was an exhalation, a soft sigh as his own hand lifted to her neck, clutching her as he thrust into her desperately. He was beautiful, always, slim and lean. Perfect shoulders, slender waist and the mere thought of him brought her heat to the brim. She was going to peak at this rate, faster than she wanted but it was fine by her. She was going to stay with him for the night, now that she knew there was no one to interfere, to interrupt. His companion was gone which left only him for her. For as long as she wanted him.

Pressing against her, holding her as if he would break without her, he murmured that he was close against her mouth. That he was so very close but that he didn't want to stop. She whispered that she didn't ever want him to stop, that she wanted to stay with him forever. If she could only stay with him forever. And when the words left her lips, tears rising in her eyes, she felt him shudder against her, inside her, his kiss frantic and pained all at once. She took his sorrowful cry into her mouth, shifting her hips and urging him to ride out his orgasm inside her. He did so, his lean arms holding her slender frame to him as if he would never allow her to leave, his mouth slanted across hers rigidly. She felt his heat within her, felt as his hips pressed against hers desperately, emptying himself inside of her. The feeling of completing him pushed her on as well, her cries drowned out in his mouth, behind his kiss. Her legs tightened around his figure, around his waist, and even in the midst of their kiss, he was shivering, pulling out and thrusting in one last time to fill her, to lose himself in her. And she clutched him to her, refusing to ever let him go, needing him to stay inside her, if not forever then at least until she had to return home. Which wouldn't be any time soon, she decided, blinking back her tears and breathing him in deeply.

Breaking the kiss, bowing his head to her shoulder, he nodded silently, heaving. Yes. He would keep her for as long as possible. And her old bedroom would be their sanctuary. For the night. For as long as she would have him. Always.

He came a few more times, appearing when I needed him. When the world seemed about to end, he would come for me. And I would go, oftentimes with flimsy excuses to my own Doctor. After a while he no longer made any attempts to figure out the identity of my mystery caller and it was because he was beginning to suspect the truth. And if that was what it was, then he had no business snooping into his future affairs. He would let things be and see what would become of everything.

But every time his future self came to me, it always seemed as if it would last forever. Until the one day I needed him and he didn't return. He didn't come for me again after our last night together. I waited for him, making myself scarce around my own Doctor, but at the end of the night I was still waiting alone, under a mournful moon. He just never returned.

And the next day, I lost my Doctor. In the blink of an eye, I was torn from my own Earth, my own universe, and stranded far away from either Doctor. Weeping in the gray sunlight, standing on a cold beach, I cried for the man I had lost and the lover I would never have again. Both of them, taken away in one day. The world ended and I was left broken and alone. And only then did I understand why I had left the Doctor, why my room would remain untouched for years to come.

It hadn't been my choice to make.

He told me, years later when I was left with a half human Time Lord on that same beach, that he hadn't returned because the world had been coming to an end. The stars had been going out, the walls between world crumbling, and all he had wanted was to taste me once more. However, the world mattered more than what he'd wanted, had depended on him. And he hadn't returned for me again. But once I had found my way across the universes, years later, my own Doctor had already made his own trips back to see me, had been with me countless nights, when the world had been gray and silent. He'd held the younger version of me and had cursed the world that would take me away from him. Because all he had wanted in his time of misery was someone to hold, someone to comfort him. I had been that person, first when I'd been traveling with him and then as my younger self. And in the end, standing on the beach, I was still the one he would come back to. Still the one he would end up with.

That was our story, after all. It was that story, the story of us, that allowed me to accept him in the end, the half human Time Lord. Because even though he was not the man I had spent countless nights with, not the same man, he was still the one that had needed me and had returned for me until he hadn't been able to anymore. I was still his last stop. His only stop. And with that man, I was going to have my eternity.