The sight of him filled Rose with a familiar mixture of warmth and relief. The Doctor flashed her one of his patented 'I'm so happy to see you' smiles with his arms outstretched. She ran into his arms as fast as her legs would carry her. The Doctor returned her hug with even more enthusiasm, if that was possible, and lifted Rose off the ground.
They stood like that for quite some time. Intertwined with each other. When one started to break the hug, the other would pull them closer. After both Rose and the Doctor were satisfied with the length of their embrace, the tight hold they had on one another was released (although from an outsider's perspective it would almost certainly look less like a hug and more like a death grip!).
"Right!" began the Doctor, "Let me rid myself of this space suit and we'll be on our way, Miss Tyler."
She smiled as he left the room. Rose loved it when he called her 'Miss Tyler'. There was some inflection in his voice when those words came out that made her heart flutter. She was glad to have him back. Ecstatic! But the more Rose thought about the events of the day, the angrier she became. She'd almost lost him today. Then where would she be? Too far from home and without the man who changed her life.
Yes, she was so happy to be back but she was definitely upset as well. Rose's disposition changed at the thought. Her hands, once thoughtfully cupped together, were now on her hips. He sauntered back into the room just as her mood shifted.
"Where shall we go? I believe I'll let you decide! Come on, anywhere your heart desires!"
Rose just stared at him, confused by the hundred different things she was feeling. She was trying to plan what to say very carefully but her face gave away that she was deep in thought.
"Are you oka- OUCH!"
She'd slapped him square across the face. Jackie Tyler would have been so proud.
"What was that for?" he asked, rubbing his face.
"I. Thought. I. Lost. You." she replied, as calmly as she could.
"Right. Sorry. No way home. I mean there were no jobs and the black hole was certainly different but," he started babbling and made less sense to Rose than usual. "Rest of your life on a rock. That's my fault."
Rose just continued staring, disbelief in her eyes. Did the Doctor actually think she'd slapped him because she would've had to rough it on a rock? For someone so brilliant, he certainly could be daft.
"I don't care at all about living on a rock under a black hole, do I? I said you not your ability to take me back to mum."
Rose was blushing now. She could feel her cheeks turning bright red. The Doctor looked dumbfounded. An awkward tension filled the air but it was cut by the electricity flying between them.
"I ... well I ..."
He stumbled over his words.
"Doctor I just have one question. Before I came back to the TARDIS, I talked to Ida. She said when you were in the pit you were going to ask her to tell me something. What was it?"
The Doctor opened his mouth but no words came out. He knew exactly what she was getting at. Oh sure, he'd guessed how she felt (I mean come on, look at him!) but that didn't mean he could understand it. For a brief moment he'd lost the ability to take her through time and space but she didn't care. Somehow, somehow, she still wanted to stay with him. The Doctor met her gaze. For once in his 900 years he was unable to find the words.
"Right, silence. Well, Doctor, there's something I have to do whether you like it or not."
Her hand brushed across his chest as she reached for his tie. They both flinched at the resulting jolt.
"Rose, what are you-"
He was cut off as she pulled him down by his tie into a kiss. They let out a mutual gasp at the contact. With one hand on his tie and the other in his hair, they kissed for what felt like an eternity and yet no time at all. When she broke it for air, the Doctor looked a little shocked but quite pleased. Rose, on the other hand, was slightly embarrassed, realizing what she had just done.
"I'm gonna, uh, library. Yeah." she said lamely, and scurried off.
"I'll just ... fix the TARDIS." he said to the empty control room.
- Inside the Library -
Oh no. What the hell did I do that for? she thought.
Well that really was a stupid question. It was quite obvious why she did it. The better question was what did the Doctor think of all this? Had he returned the kiss or not? She couldn't remember. Rose had been too lost in the moment to take notice of what the Doctor was doing.
What had he wanted Ida to tell her? She'd been searching her brain for the answer but nothing came to her. All Rose had to go on was what she hoped. She hoped the Doctor wanted Ida to tell her how much he loved her. Hoped the Doctor would say he would fight his way to the ends of the universe and back before he would let her go. Hoped he loved her so much it hurt that they weren't together. Because that was everything she felt.
The more she thought about it, the more her embarrassment faded. She may not have known for sure if the Doctor would return the feelings, but Rose knew one thing was certain; The Doctor had definitely not stopped it. With some newfound confidence she decided to march herself back to the console room and confront him.
- In the Console Room -
The Doctor had not moved since telling the empty room he was going to work on the TARDIS. His mind was racing! Well, more than usual.
Had that been from the stress of the day? Or did she really mean to do it? Why didn't he do more than stand there with his hands in his pockets? But she had to mean it, didn't she? And he certainly felt that way. So he hadn't given in to desire first! Ha! There's something! No, no, wait, his ego was getting in the way of productive thoughts.
Why was it so hard for him to tell her? To say, Rose Tyler, I love you. To say, I would fight my way to the end of the universe and back for you. To say, I am so in love with you it is actually painful that we're not together.
He should tell her. He was going to tell her. Consequences be damned. Forever started today. If anyone was worth the pang of loneliness and sadness when their time was up, it was Rose Tyler.
Just as he decided to make his first declaration in the library, he heard footsteps. The Doctor hoped they were heading for him, for the console room.
"We need to talk." She said it with a stern tone in her voice.
"No, wait. What that really meant was first I'm going to talk and you're going to listen. Then you can talk."
He was almost at a loss for words. Almost.
"You walk around here all the time with your flirting, and your hand holding even when we're not running, and your adorable glasses, and your 'We can go anywhere you want!' which, as I was told by you, doesn't normally happen with companions, yeah?"
The Doctor swallowed hard. He was unsure whether he should answer or not. To avoid another painful slap the Doctor did something he rarely ever did. He decided not to talk.
"So then we have that hug. That wonderful, amazing hug. You won't tell me what you were going to tell Ida to tell me and I kissed you. I can't remember if you kissed back or what you were even doing in those minutes but you did not stop it. I need to know what's going on. I need to know and I'm not leaving here until I do."
Her breath caught at the last sentence and she hoped he hadn't noticed. She instinctively crossed her arms, trying to look as serious as possible.
"My glasses?" He smiled.
"You're not getting out of this."
"These glasses?" He had a glint of mischief in his eye as he put them on.
"Doctor!" she whined, almost pleading.
"Rose!" he mocked her tone.
"Tell me what you were gonna-"
Being cut off was not something Rose Tyler was fond of. In fact, she hated it. But in that moment Rose didn't care if she finished a sentence ever again. In one swift movement he put a hand on the back of neck and pulled her in to a kiss. He broke it off almost immediately but it lingered so much longer than expected.
She moved her head up towards the Doctor's in protest of the separation but he pulled away. Rose looked hurt so he gave her an apologetic glance. She was very quick to accept. It was impossible to stay mad at that man for too long.
"Does that answer your question?"
"Well, for the most part." Her mischievous tone mirrored his own, but the Doctor did not seem to catch it.
"I'll say it if you want," he was slightly panicked now, how could his point not have come across properly? "Every hour, every time you enter a room, whenever or wherever you want. Just thought you'd like it more it I showed you." He finished rather sheepishly.
"Doctor, as appealing as that sounds, I was just gonna say that I'm not sure I was listening so maybe you should," she ran her hand down the length of his tie, "tell me again."
She was coy, that Rose Tyler. The Doctor obliged and captured her in a kiss once more, it was growing more intense by the moment as they both came to realize what the kiss actually meant.
Satisfied they finally had each other, the two swayed on the spot in a loving hug until the Doctor broke the silence.
"It's my turn to ask a question."
"Best snog you've ever had?"
The cheek in his voice was undeniable, but he sounded legitimately curious.
She giggled, "Oh there's that Time Lord ego I'm oh so fond of!"
"Alright then! Allow me to show off some more. Adventure of a lifetime!"
The Doctor was back to his talkative, excitable self, but he refused to let go of Rose's hand. Even while trying to fly the TARDIS.
The TARDIS jerked as they landed, throwing Rose and the Doctor to the ground. Still hand-in-hand they turned to look at each other, laughing.
"Doctor, where are we?"
"Haven't the slightest! Shall we go and see? Maybe we'll get a good run in!"
"Well, how could a girl refuse such an offer? But no wandering off, promise? I just got you properly, I don't want to lose you."
"Oh, Miss Tyler, you're one to talk about wandering off!" A smirk spread across his face, "Besides, you couldn't lose me if you tried! You're stuck with me!"
"Stuck with you? I do believe you are stuck with me. But we'll manage somehow." she said teasingly.
"And you're absolutely sure about this? About us?" He seemed wary of the territory he was walking into. "Because my forever and your forever are two very different things. If there's one thing I'm more afraid of than losing you, it's hurting you. Just say the word and none of this ever happened."
The Doctor searched her eyes for an answer. It was so unlike him to be unable to read someone. But then again, she wasn't just someone.Her eyes gave away nothing but she tightened her grip on his hand.
Rose crawled towards him and kissed the Doctor on the cheek. All the answers he could ever need. As he helped her off the ground, the Doctor could feel his face flushing red. Rose didn't mention it and he was thankful for her kindness.
A very excited Rose ran towards the doors, practically jumping up and down. The Doctor stared with a smile on his face. For one shining moment, everything in his life was blissful.
She turned to him, becoming impatient.
"Come on then, you!" She held out her hand for the Doctor; He ran towards her and took it in his own.
The Doctor and Rose opened the TARDIS doors, taking the first steps in their next great adventure.