She felt his cool hand slip into her own as she stood staring at the indent the TARDIS had made in the soft sand. Her hair whipped painfully around her face as she stood motionless.
"You left." She whispered, sad eyes unwavering from the vacant space in front of her.
"I'm still here Rose." He murmured squeezing her hand and stepping closer to her side. "I'm still me."
She looked up at him through the tears that threatened to fall. "Is it really you?" She sobbed, searching his eyes. "Because I don't know how much more of this I can take."
He knew what she was looking for; she was searching for the stars and galaxies, the depths of the entire universe residing in his gaze. He smiled at her, part human he may be but that part of him would always remain the same, he was still a Time Lord, he would merely be able to live out her forever with her, if that's what she should choose. He let the essence of himself slide from his mind and swirl around her as he had done once before, almost a life time ago, and smirked slightly as her knees began to buckle. He held her up against the side of him.
"See," He grinned as she composed herself, "Still me."
"Oh." She breathed opening her eyes and then began laughing as she turned towards him, almost knocking him off his feet as she jumped into his arms. He joined her happily in laughter as he twirled them around.
"You're here." She cried into his neck.
"Always." He replied into her hair as he breathed her in. She pulled back to look at him, not stepping out of the warmth of his embrace a solemn expression on her face.
"Will you be alright?" She asked quietly looking back to the faint markings left on the beach as the tide began wiping them from existence.
"Yes." He smiled at her. "I'm sorry it had to end this way." He followed her gaze. "But I had to leave us both here." He looked back at her blank expression.
"My time was ending Rose; this body was made for you, this me." He was pleading her with his eyes to understand. "He'll change very soon, he could feel it and I knew you'd be devastated to lose another me. That's why I won't change, I'll always stay this me." He sighed and glanced down at his trainers.
She seemed to consider something as she slipped one hand from around his neck and placed it against his chest as she had done earlier.
"Bit weird," She commented screwing up her nose at him curiously. "Only one heart?"
He laughed out loud at this and pulled her against his chest pressing a kiss to her forehead.
"We're actually only born with one you know," He smiled down at her. "The second doesn't grow until after the first regeneration."
"Still," She frowned glancing up at him uncertainly. "Bit different."
"Good different or bad different?" He raised his eyebrow and smirked at her.
"It so is you." She laughed shoving him playfully in the chest. "Still a smug git."
"Rose Tyler you wound me deeply." He feigned hurt, and she nudged him in the shoulder as they began walking towards the cliffs, sobering at the sight of an incredibly irate Jackie.
"Norway?" Jackie glared at The Doctor who swallowed audibly. "Of all the places you could have dropped us, you prat of an alien, you dump us back in bloody Norway!"
"Mum!" Rose chastised. "Weren't his fault."
"Is so," Jackie argued before answering her phone. "He's still the Doctor, which still makes him a prat."
"Yea, sorry about that." He apologised to Rose as Jackie ranted at Pete over the phone. "I couldn't risk moving too far away from the gap." Rose smiled at him, sitting herself down on the flattest seat shaped rock she could find and patted the space next to her.
"I know," She replied as he sat down. "I remember what you said last time we were here; I wouldn't have wanted you to risk the TARDIS. She's too important." She twiddled her thumbs absent-mindedly as she thought. "I missed her, will miss her." She spoke finally.
"Yea, me too." He smiled sadly wrapping his arm around her shoulders. "But we'll have her back soon enough."
"The Doctor and Rose Tyler in the TARDIS." She smiled. He squeezed her shoulders as she leant heavily against his side.
They sat in silence watching the tide slowly creep up the beach before Jackie returned, much calmer now, and stood watching them with a small smile on her lips. The Doctor noticed her out of the corner of his eye but didn't turn. She moved closer before she spoke.
"Pete's got a zeppelin waitin' for us in Bergen." She nodded towards the path up the cliff, "He's sendin' a car to meet us up the hill, should only be bout' a half hour." She smiled pulling her jacket tighter around her and moving along the cliff face to the small stone stair case cut into the rock.
The Doctor stood and pulled Rose up after him, supporting her with a strong arm around her waist. She was exhausted, he could feel it as well as see it in the way she held herself, he wasn't quite sure how long she'd gone without proper rest, but he guessed it was probably a few months. His chest felt tight at the thought that she was unhappy the entire time she had been here, he'd hoped she'd found the strength to go on and live her life without him as fantastically as he'd always wanted her to.
"Couldn't do it." She mumbled barely able to stay awake as they reached the top of the cliff and he gently lifted her into his arms. "Not without you." He dropped a kiss on her forehead.
"Get out of my head." He whispered and reigned in his thoughts, moving towards Jackie who smiled down at her now sleeping daughter cradled in his arms then back at him.
"She's been through so much Doctor." Jackie whispered. "It's been hard on her being without you."
"It's been hard without her too." He admitted looking down at her sleeping form.
"Thank you." Jackie told him honestly moving beside him and grasping his arm gently. "Thank you for Pete, and Tony and for keepin' her safe and for comin' back, you're a good man Doctor and I thank you every day for all of it."
"Even if I am a stupid prat?" He smirked at her as their taxi came into view on the horizon.
"Even then." She laughed. "You're meant for each other," She stated staring lovingly at her daughter, "Knew it back with big ears." He was slightly startled by her admission.
"Still," He conceded. "Bit of an age gap then."
"You're nine hundred years old Doctor." Jackie snorted. "No matter what you look like there's an unimaginable age gap. But none of that matters." She assured him. "She loves you and from what I can tell, you've always loved her. And that's all that really matters to me." She opened the back door for him when the taxi came to a stop.
"You're quite perceptive Jackie Tyler." He smiled as he entered the car and adjusted Rose's position in his lap. She raised her eyebrow and closed his door before moving to where the driver held hers open and took a seat next to him and Rose.
"Always knew you were never as thick as you made out to be." She slapped him on the arm and chuckled as the taxi took them away from the beach.
"Don't you forget that either." She smiled and relaxed into her seat. "Welcome home Doctor."
Rose clutched at his suit and snuggled into his chest. "Indeed." He smiled back at Jackie.