Especially on Sundays

He thinks that, maybe, sort of, kind of, perhaps definitely maybe...

He's loved her from the beginning.

Or maybe that's just being sappy.

Which will not do, obviously. Because Time Lords didn't get sappy. What a ridiculous idea.

Thus, he concludes, it must be true. A universal fact, if you will:

He fell in love with her far too quickly.

Well, the most astounding fact is that he's fallen in love at all, let alone the timing of it. Time Lords didn't do that either, really. Not like this. Not this much. Not this terrifying, brilliant, overwhelming emotion that makes him just need her by his side every single moment of the day. Not this human - not to mention undignified and far, far too young - feeling of butterflies in his stomach when she says his name, or the sensation that tingles his hand when she grabs it and holds on tight. No, no. They could never have imagined this, let alone let themselves feel it.

He's alone now, in terms of his race, his species, his friends, his family, his planet...all gone, but him.

So, right, here's a question or two for you. Now, is it strange, the fact that he hasn't felt so alive, so happy, so together, since...well, ever...?

Or is it just her? And is it just love?

He wonders that if he'd met her before the War, would he have asked a second time?

He only has to see her smile to think, definitely, yes. For time and age and loss and fire on his part, all that's happened...it doesn't make her any more brilliant in his eyes. She just is. It's inherent, in her, always has been. He loves her, but it's nothing to do with the actual pain he felt before he met her, it's the simple fact that she's her and she can numb it by her very existence in his life. More than that. Stop it. Stop the pain. And if the pain hadn't been there for her to heal, then maybe he'd be less reluctant to let himself tell her how much she means to him. It's backward and silly, but he honestly believes that because, through all this, how she's the light that lit up his dark soul, he doesn't deserve her.

Now, if he'd been fine and dandy and merry and - why yes, still lonely (even before.) Oh, he's always been lonely. A lonely life, this was. He just hadn't previously known that the reason it was lonely was because she wasn't there, an extension of his hand and an imprint – no, wait, not just an imprint: a massive great identification code

Rose's

on his hearts. Well anyway, if he had met her without the War leaving his armour blackened and his mind tainted, then maybe, just maybe, he'd've let her love him back.

As it is, he can't do that. Oh, he'd love to. Of course he would. But he can't, not really, because he cannot pretend that he's right for her, even if – though, of course, he still wouldn't've been right for her, not really; he'd've still been centuries older than her, for Rassilon's sake – but still, even if he could've swept her away in an impossible timeline of before and impulsively, joyously, excitedly – for this had yet to happen to him, and of course, he is a curious man who enjoys experiencing new things - let love take its course.

He can't let her love him now, though, because it's so unfair.

Unfair.

That's what he's learnt, you see; because of the War.

It's changed his perception of things.

Before - he'd never felt like he needed a relationship, so to speak, because he'd never known what he'd been missing, so to speak. It wasn't so much that he was consciously holding that side of things back, or restricting himself from having that sort of thing part of everyday life, or following Time Lord rules or anything like that; he was a renegade, after all.

He just never really thought of it. Or rather, he'd never met her, who made him think of it. Companions, good friends, no, brilliant friends – they came into his life for a short spell and he cared for them, but before too long they would leave him, and well, he's not ashamed to say that it upset him when that happened, because of course it did; having wonderful times with friends then abruptly losing them, for whichever reason, is something he'll never want to get used to, and it hurts, it does; saying goodbye. But he had to move on, and find new fantastic people to befriend and show the universe to.

(Not getting too attached, for history naturally repeated itself in this case, and he knew he'd be saying goodbye to another far too soon.)

Never did it cross his mind, though, that one day, he'd fall in love with one and she'd become someone entirely impossible to leave

(or be left by, so far, stubborn as she is, and thank heavens for it.)

Someone who he cannot, actually – and, now here's a confession – someone he cannot imagine life without, now she's here.

Someone who simply became his entire world. Replacing his world of old

(the one he'd lost to a war)

in such a terrifying, beautiful way that it made him feel both guilty and wonderful all at once.

Anyway, back to the point – we were speaking of before, after all -

(now, he wonders, when he says before, does he mean before the War, or does he mean before her?)

- he never stays in the same place for long, which would also prove a difficult element in constructing a proper, stable relationship with things like settling down and – eugh, this word – mortgages.

Her, though...

She's made for this life, he knows that. She'll stay forever if she can

(and oh, how he wants her to)

and he has no doubt in his mind that she is, for lack of a better phrase, his soul mate. He finds it hard to believe that she'd ever give this life up, and so, well. Perhaps settling down would never have been a problem. He knows how much she sees the TARDIS as home, now, after all.

However.

Now - the War, it's showed him how unfair the universe can really be.

And even a younger, less emotionally-abused him may have tried to push his love for her away and lock it up in his mind, just like he has done, but he certainly wouldn't've stayed that way. Not for long. Not with her being her, and him, with these feelings -

so different from anything he's felt before, maybe he'd have been naive enough to think, despite all the losses of friends in the past, it – him and her - was meant to be. Nothing would take her away. They could have forever. It could work.

He knows now that's not true. He knows as much as he wants it to be true, they – him and her, her and him – they can't be meant to be, otherwise, surely, their significantly different lifespans would miraculously match up. People who are meant to be together

(i.e. the people of fairytales, a concept so far removed from his life, from his perspective, anyway, that it is ridiculous to ever strive for)

live so happily ever after.

And everything's a risk. Everywhere they go – anything could take her from him. Anything, anywhere, natural or moral evil, illness or death or separation

(it's all as bad as each other.

Death is separation is death.

To not have her with him, even if she was, somehow, still alive; that would be just as traumatic,

just as hard to live with, just as unlucky and unfair as death itself)

could take her away from him.

And that scares him to his very core.

Simply put, they cannot have forever together. It cannot work. It is too hard, too unlucky, too unfair, and he shouldn't have fallen in love with her, because ever since he did, he cannot think of anything but how much he wants her to stay for the rest of his life. Not just the whole of her life, but his too.

And that's impossible, and that's why he can't let her love him back, because if he did, he isn't sure he'd be able to stop himself from kissing her, which would, inevitably, set off a chain reaction of other things he shouldn't do, and before he'd know it he'd be left alone again, officially broken-hearted, officially alone, while she'd be gone, torn from him by the stupid, unfair, crazy, horrible universe, lost to him but for memories until the end of his days...

Oh, why did he fall in love with her?

He loved her in a basement. He loved her in her flat. He loved her walking down the street. Her loved her in a bloody chip shop. He loved her across a table, when she trusted him, and said, do it. He loved her under frozen waves. He loved her when he almost lost her to his greatest enemy. He loved her in the midst of bombs and dancing and music and meeting a certain Captain. He loved her in Japan. He loved her when he almost lost her to his greatest enemy again. He loved her when she came back, and when she glowed golden, and when he kissed her, and when he killed himself in the process.

He loved her all those moments and every moment in between. He loved her though he shouldn't've.

And what's wrong, and yet immutable, immovable, undeniable, is, he still does. He's changed his face, his whole body, his personality, his voice.

But nothing, ever – certainly not regeneration and not even proper death - could stop him loving her. His feelings have not change. Or at least, they have not lessened. He rather thinks he loves her more and more each moment he spends with her.

(He loves her every time she's not looking, and every time she is.)

And he loves how she makes him keep track of time in human terms now; there's a clock in his room so that he can let his human get her eight hours sleep, and there's a calender on the kitchen wall. She thinks it's so they can work out frequent-but-not-too-frequent visits to her Mum and keep track of her timeline in a more linear fashion, just to make things a little easier. And avoid the dreaded paradox.

(For him, the clock and the calender portray a love that lasts 'round the clock and all year long.

And those different days - monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday, saturday, sunday - they all have relevance, they all have significant events occuring on them, their little routines that he still finds so exciting.

And of course, there's her birthday in April, and other, less important, celebratory days in other months that he must always, always remember. Like Christmas. Can't miss Christmas.)

He loves her in the mornings.

When he goes into her room without knocking and she doesn't mind, for she's still snoring softly and curled up entangled in warm duvet and plush pillows. And then she feels the dip in the mattress as he sits on her bed by her feet, so she raises her head a little, her hair masking her face but he knows what the expression will be when she brushes her blonde, messy locks aside; brow somewhat furrowed, eyes still half-closed, mouth parted but slightly pouting, and she mumbles, umph – yawns, and then pleads - Five more minutes? And he makes her laugh with a witty comment and holds out her mug of tea, and she wakes herself up a bit, leaning back on her elbow and bringing the hot beverage to her mouth, and with her other hand, she absentmindedly scratches her bare stomach where her vest top has ridden up in her restlessness.

And he sits there, watching her as she rubs her eyes, endearingly young and sleepy and beautiful, and as he sips his own drink to hide his admiring smile, he thinks about how much he adores her.

Thinks about how nice it would be to tell her that, but doesn't do so, because he can't.

He loves her during breakfast.

When, in perfect synchronisation, they make toast with marmalade or maybe waffles with syrup or pancakes with lemon juice, or maybe all three; and the kettle is on and its boiling, ready for him to bring their mugs to the counter just as she spoons out the sugar

(two for her – she's sweet enough; four for him – she's making him cut down)

and then he's opening the fridge with one hand, as he checks on the toast/waffles/pancakes, for her to retrieve the milk, and he closes it for her too. And when she pours it in, splashing some over the rims of the mugs - because it's still early, and she's still a little sleepy, and she's still a bit clumsy, even in womanhood - he's there with the dishcloth, wiping up her mess without looking as he puts their food onto the plates she's taking out of the cupboard simultaneously.

And then he picks up their plates, tilts his head to shut the cupboard door with it; she puts the milk away and picks up their mugs on the way to sit down opposite him at the little, old battered table in the corner of the galley. And the way she looks, tired but with bright, excited eyes filled with youth and anticipation; the way their knees accidently bump under the table and stay in contact throughout their morning meal; the way she steals the rest of his toast/waffles/pancakes when he's midway through a lecture about their itinerary for the day...

...he wonders if this will ever get boring, or pointless, or rubbish, or simply too domestic.

She grins at him mischievously, tongue caught between her teeth, teasing, tempting, delicious and her, and he asks himself why ever he wondered that.

(There's nothing boring or pointless or rubbish or too domestic about her, and never could there be.)

Incidentally, he loves this; their little breakfast ritual, beginning everyday of their life together in this way. Tea and toast and smiles and jokes and meaningful looks that are pretended to be ignored.

It almost feels too good to be true -

(and that's likely because it is, for all good things come to an end, after all. So they say.)

He loves her in the afternoons.

When they are running, running so fast that their hearts are racing in tandem and he can feel the pulse in her thumb throb against his as he holds her hand so tightly

(and he wonders that if he felt her heartbeat chest-to-chest, would he ever be able to tear himself away?)

And it doesn't matter the reason; whether it's from aliens or to aliens or simply for the sake of being alive and racing down the biggest hill they can find

(funny, how even when trying to win a race, even when exercising that competitive nature of his...

...he can't quite let go of her hand to run solo)

and the fact is, it's tremendously fun and the adrenaline's pumping and when they stop, panting, whether at the bottom of a big hill or hiding in a cupboard or safe back behind the TARDIS doors, he absentmindedly thinks –

maybe she's so high on life that she'll kiss me, this time

and when she doesn't, he kicks himself, and remembers it's not allowed anyway.

He loves her in the evenings.

When they play games or watch films or read books or just chat; together and content in their sanctuary of the library, her on her bean bag and him in his armchair

(and yet by the end of the evening, with bags of chips in their laps and bottles of drink in their hands after a quick nip back to Earth or Other, they've moved to their comfy sofa; his arm is wrapped around her shoulder and she's snuggled into his side and everything's so cosy and lovely that for a second, he almost imagines they are normal and together and as in love as any couple.)

It's when he hears her breath hitch at his fingers lightly stroking her forearm that he realises that they are not.

And that they will not

get that chance.

(That beautiful chance of the life and adventure he can never have.)

And even though her heart's picked up pace and even though he doesn't stop his touch

(he can't physically stop; his hand is possessed. Always loved that hand, he has; his fighting hand, still fighting for what he can't have, hoping his brain won't notice what his hearts are commanding it to do)

nothing is spoken, no words of protest but equally no words of assent.

No words of love, for he cannot utter them and still maintain the fragile distance hanging between them even as they are pressed together too closely for just this, just friends.

Words are all, and while they are not present, this doesn't mean a thing –

- except that it does, and they both know so; reluctantly, he's now acknowledged that it's impossible to hide it from his eyes every time he looks at her, so he is sure she knows.

So, hang on.

Maybe, if she knows, then this is all senseless, all this restraining...

Maybe, if she knows anyway, then it's too late to stop her loving him back...

Maybe she's already just as in love with him as he is with her.

He cannot deny that the thought warms his hearts and makes him smile stupidly happily; even though he knows that still, nothing can come of it.

He loves her in the deep, dark night.

When he carries her sleeping form to her bedroom, lays her down on her bed, and when she opens her eyes and flashes him a sleepy smile, her face so close so close to his, he has to retreat quickly out of her door before he kisses her goodnight like any normal man could kiss goodnight the woman he loves.

Inhaling and exhaling heavily and rapidly, leaning against the corridor wall, he stops breathing altogether when through the crack in her door

(he forgets to shut it, as usual, when will he learn? It's just, he can't bear to close a door between them as he walks away from her)

he hears her footsteps pad back and forth across her room as she gets undressed. Clothing hits the floor with a gentle thud. There's a slight click and it's her bra undoing, and that really shouldn't make him slide down the wall to sit on the floor but it does. And then there's taps running in her ensuite bathroom and he swallows thickly and thinks, it's too late for a bath and she's far too tired; what if she falls asleep and – and – and drowns, or something?

He stays there and listens to her softly singing as she bathes, and waits for her to get safely out and safely dressed for bed and safely in bed, before he's satisfied she's safely safe, and leaves for a cold shower and cold, empty bed, himself.

He loves her Monday to Friday.

When he takes her to different planets and starships and observation decks and satellites and moons and stars. When he takes her to meet people from the history books, on her planet and others, and when they adventure in all sorts of times and places, experiencing every culture they can weave themselves into.

The beginning the middle the end of things and it's all beautiful

(except when it isn't, and there's death, but that's rare, now - he tries to avoid it as much as he can. Who knows how long he has with her? He doesn't want her remembering a life full of watching destruction at every corner, so he takes her everywhere she's least likely to get hurt; emotionally or physically.)

And time and space, it's all her oyster, and he'll take her anywhere she wants to go.

Sometimes their days are peaceful, and they explore, no problems. Most times they run into at least a little trouble, but she loves it as much as he does, and they escape it brilliantly like always.

He truly adores the way she can only stay mad at him for about half an hour when he gets them arrested; he's awesome at magic tricks and card games, after all, and once he brings out his impressiveness he keeps her entertained far longer than a girl should be, sitting uncomfortably on the dank, dingy prison cell floor of planet this that or the other.

He loves her at the weekends...

When he really, really tries to give them days off from all the running and world-saving and prison-cell-staying, providing he gets his driving right, of course, and when he's not taking her back to Jackie for a visit, he takes her to all the best funfairs and shops and parties and spas and museums and premieres and parks and fireworks and intergalactic balls and restaurants and landmarks and beaches and galleries and quaint little alien marketplaces that the universe has to offer.

They relax and have fun and eat ice cream from Kraxor and Ramsay's caviar and Vellusion custard and Parisian toffee apples and they pretend they can go on pretending that he is totally not taking her on dates that span time and space

(he's ruined her for any other man; who else could woo her like he does? And without even meaning to, at that?)

...Especially on Sundays.

When they don't even leave the TARDIS.

Repairs is his excuse. She's an old ship, every week or two she needs some rest...

some TLC? she grins, stroking the console affectionately and by Rassilon, he loves her so much it hurts.

Exactly, he beams back.

(Neither of them suggest to the other that him and her could use a bit more than tender loving care themselves, but they both think it and hear it anyway.)

The repairs don't often take too long, and he goes off and seeks Rose out from wherever she's hiding or exploring on the TARDIS.

(He finds her in a different room each time, and he wonders how she discovers them all and somehow makes even the ones he's not set foot in for centuries look lived-in and so very hers.)

And when he finds her, it'd be so easy to simply take her in his arms and just kiss her...

except it wouldn't be, so he can't.

Oh, he loves her in each season and month and millennium and moment, but it doesn't make the situation simple.

He loves her when she laughs, he loves her when she cries, but it cannot possibly be revealed through language or a press of lips to lips because that's not the way they find comfort in each other, because they can't let themselves go that far.

He loves her when she holds his hand, he loves her when she forgives him, he loves her when she hugs him close, but he can't push his fingers into her hair and haul her mouth to his because they don't do that, they can't do that, they can't.

He loves her when they argue and he loves her when she teases him, but he can't shut her up with a snog, because that's going over the rapidly fading line between them.

He loves her when she flushes under his intent gaze and shy, hurried compliments he can't help but give, but it doesn't mean he can tell her everything he wants to say about her.

In fact, it's pretty obvious and evident that he loves her bloody always. And he knows, he knows, he always will. But somehow, to preserve all three of their hearts, he's got to stop himself from letting her know that. He's got to.

But -

(next Sunday, he doesn't.)

...

A/N: So, I've used the word 'love' like 58 times in this fic. Now, doesn't that tell you something about the Doctor and Rose, eh? :D Hope you enjoyed it,

Love Laura xxx

P.S. I'll attempt to update my WIPs (The Slow Path, Married?, It's a Wonderful Christmas, etc) in the coming couple of weeks, but things have been so hectic at school that I haven't been able to yet. So hopefully it won't be too long, but please be patient – and I am sorry for making you wait! ;P x