The Doctor leant against the door and slid down to the floor. "Rose? Open the door please." He pressed his ear to the door, listening for her voice.
Rose sat on her bed and looked around the room; she still wasn't sure where to look when she spoke to the TARDIS. "I know you don't like me very much, but from one girl to another please don't let him in." She lay back on the bed and stared up at the painting covering her ceiling. It was months ago now that she and the Doctor had spent an entire day painting time and space, true it was no masterpiece but the distraction had dulled that feeling of homesickness and it never ceased to make her smile. She rolled onto her side and sighed. "I guess you can in the morning, I just can't deal with one of his lectures right now."
The Doctor blinked the tears away from his eyes. "Oh Rose." He felt a wash of sorrow from the TARDIS; she hated seeing him so miserable but knew he wanted to give Rose the time she needed. The Doctor sighed, he didn't blame either of them but still the TARDIS' attempt to sooth him had no effect on his restless mind. "I'll wait."
Rose rolled out of bed, she knew it was useless trying to sleep; she had been tossing and turning for hours now and no matter what she or the TARDIS tried nothing would sooth her mind. "Chips." She headed for the door, hoping the familiar smell and taste would help her relax.
"Ouch!" The Doctor's head met with the floor as Rose opened the door. "Rose." He smiled up at her, but otherwise didn't move. As much as he wanted to hug her and check she was alright he couldn't tell what she was thinking.
"Hey." She sat down beside him, her eyes never leaving his. "Okay." She sighed, tearing her gaze from his, her hair falling in front of her face as she stared at the floor. "Say what you want to say."
He sat up and reached over to brush her hair out of her face. "I'm sorry." He moved so he was sat in front of her, smiling as she hid her face from him. "You were right to do what you did and I was wrong to insist you stay nearby."
She looked up at him, a smile on her lips and tears in her eyes. "I thought you'd be really mad, I know I was stupid for wandering off but I just couldn't deal with a lecture."
"No." The Doctor shook his head, brushing the tears from her cheeks. "It wasn't stupid." He moved to hold her face. "It was right! You're brilliant! Genius! You sussed it out right from the start but silly old me was too busy trying to protect you. But I trust you to look after yourself, of course I do, I just can't help worrying about you. The idea of you getting hurt scares me; I promised to look after you and I don't want to break that promise."
"You know, the truth is, I was mad at you. I wanted to know what was so dangerous, I asked you to tell me why you were so scared but you shut me out again. So I ran off to prove you wrong and save those people." She looked down at the floor, feeling ashamed of herself; she had put them both in danger, and in fact she was sure she had been stupid. "I mean I don't expect to understand, I know I can never truly understand you but sometimes it gets to me when you shut me out."
"Rose." He leant closer to her, grasping both her hands in his own. "That's not how it is, it's the time; I can't always stop to explain my thoughts to you."
"You let others see that wonderful mind of yours, people that barely know you say how lonely you are, they look into your mind and see loneliness and every time they do I just want to scream that you're not lonely; you have me!" The tears began to well up again and her head fell into her hands. "But then I think maybe I don't mean what I thought, maybe I'm not important because the loneliness is still the same and you've never shown me why."
"They have not seen everything. Oh Rose, amazing Rose! They haven't seen you! They don't know how you've changed everything; I shut you away in my mind because you are so precious and I even lock you away from myself because you mean so much that sometimes it scares me." He kissed her forehead and framed her face with his hands. "Here." He leant his forehead up against hers and shut his eyes. "Open your mind."
Rose found herself immersed in his memories. Images of his childhood flooded over her, everything of impact imprinting itself on her mind and his loneliness quickly overwhelming her. Consumed by his compulsion to run, she was propelled through his life to see him standing in the TARDIS for the first time. He ran his hand over her console and told her she was beautiful and Rose's smile matched the Doctor's own as she felt the warm purr of the TARDIS in his mind that day. The old girl was as happy as the Time Lord, he had found a home and Rose's smile grew as his loneliness subsided.
His mind lingered for just a moment before a run of adventures filled her head, she could see all the aliens he had ever faced, the companions he'd had and the regenerations before he'd met her. Always running from the loneliness and rarely alone; scared. He showed her the family he'd had, his people and the splendour of his home planet, Gallifrey. The memories felt like her own; the glow of the suns, the silver leafed trees, the red grass and the burnt orange sky all filled her with the adoration he felt. She looks up at the citadel in its dome and sees its towers consumed by flames and now she is surrounded by the terror of the time war. She is filled with anguish at the endless death and devastation until he is stood there alone watching his planet burn. He walks away, knowing he's destroyed his people and it breaks him, tearing at his soul and hardening his hearts once more. Tears flow down her cheeks as he becomes a thousand times lonelier, he wanders time and space alone, a shadow of the man he used to be, just an empty shell.
"Rose." Suddenly she was back in the TARDIS. The Doctor pulled back from her, breaking the connection. "Don't cry." He moved his hand to hold her cheek, wiping the tears with his thumb. "It's in the past." He went to hug her but her hands found his and pulled them into her lap.
"I want to know more. Show me the rest." She urged him, fingers curling into place between his.
The look in her eyes melted his hearts; her desire to help shining through as always. "Come here." A smile formed on his lips as he kissed her forehead, holding her there for a moment before pressing his own forehead back against hers.
Now the Doctor was in London, staring up at Henrik's department store, wondering why the TARDIS had brought him here of all places. Little had he known that this was where he needed to be, this was exactly where he was always meant to be, a fixed point in time. Rose saw herself through his eyes that first moment he took her hand and said "Run." She could see that even then, the fear in her eyes evoked something within him. She feels the impulse he'd had just to know her name and then he is there in her flat the next day, realising he had always been heading there, to her. Her own relentless questions fill her head and he puts up defences in the hope of denying her importance but when she hears he is alone her voice softens and everything changes. He warms to her; for the first time since the Time War someone wanted to know him and what's more she cared enough to want to help; amongst all the chaos she wanted to know his name most of all. Concern was evident in her eyes as he described who he was and as he took her hand he noticed how it fit perfectly within his own, but in the moment that terrified him; he let go and told her to forget him but knew she never could. Running with her that day had seemed so right; for once in this body it was okay for him to let someone that close, physically as well as emotionally. Rose watched herself save his life that very first time, becoming overrun with his amazement as he saw her for all her glory; fantastic and completely unaware. And at the end of it all he just stands there, burning her image into his mind, desperate for more of Rose Tyler because this cannot be the end for the two of them, he needs her. He can't explain why and doesn't want to question it, but for some reason he gets that miracle, he gets her.
All the adventures they'd had together flashed before her. He showed her all the times they'd laughed together, every time she had smiled or even just looked up at him with those shining brown eyes and a smile formed on her lips, the tears welling up again as she saw how each one had made him fall for her a little more. Every time he thought he'd lost her his hearts would break, she'd be consumed with pain and her heart wrenched as he blamed himself every time they were trapped or she was facing death. But the heartache and sorrow would disappear in an instant when she was back in his arms; safe.
On Satellite 5 he sends her home, fighting the urge to have her stay; his entire being needed her there with him, he needed her warmth, her bravery, her faith and her intelligence because without her he couldn't defeat the Daleks, he hadn't known how. But that was alright. Maybe the Earth had had its day, maybe he was meant to die there alone, but that was alright because she was safe and he could die happy knowing she would live out her life long before any of this happened. Then suddenly she is there again, surrounded by golden light, her eyes shining like the sun and he could feel the power radiating from within her. A mix of emotions ran through her as she watched herself as the Bad Wolf; at first the Doctor was amazed, almost proud but soon concern and fear overwhelmed everything else. He could feel the power burning her from the inside out and he knew she couldn't let go. He had told her everything he felt and was as a Time Lord and now she was all that and more. He knew she wanted to be like him and he felt selfish for wishing she could be just that. But it was killing her and he was happy to save her in the only way he could; her safety had priority over his life and there was no better way to go than this, by kissing his Rose whom he'd completely and utterly fallen in love with.
He skips past the regeneration; there is no need for her to suffer that pain but then he stops and she can see her own horrified expression as she tells him to change back. She is overcome with sorrow and heartbreak; it destroys him that she hates this new him when he had hoped she would come to love him, that she would accept this new body and see he was the same man that had given his life for her. But all that pain soon fades away; he takes her hand and looks deep into her brown eyes and knows with all certainty that this is right. He can't help but notice that this hand fits hers perfectly too, that this body was made for her and he was sure that every one he'd ever had or would have was exactly the same.
Finally, like he had always wanted to, he showed Rose herself in his eyes. Everything he feels surges through her all at once, he bares his soul in the only way he can because words cannot begin to cover how he feels. To the Doctor everything about her is precious; she is infinitely beautiful but so much more than that. She is endlessly compassionate; the most caring person he has ever met, a shining beacon of hope in a dark universe and ultimately his salvation. He is astounded by her strength, she is a fighter who follows her heart and has saved his life countless times. She absorbed the time vortex for him, an impossible feat that she should never have managed let alone been able to withstand. Despite intelligence beyond her years she has such faith in him; it truly astounds him that she believes in him but still it is vitally important to him that she does. He adores her sense of humour, the way it matches so perfectly with his own and her smile lights up the entire Universe in such a way he has never seen before. He suspects that she can see into his soul with those beautiful brown eyes; sometimes he gets lost in their depths and with every look she melts his hearts, leaving him powerless to refuse her anything. There are so many little things that enchant him too; he adores it when she grins and her tongue peeks out from behind her teeth, and he can't help but smile when she sneaks a glance in his direction as if checking he's still there. She inspires him to be a better man; a shining example that's making him the man he's meant to be, a man that he hopes will one day deserve her. She made him see once more that it's good to care, that compassion doesn't make you weak but makes you stronger than the enemy. Domestic isn't so scary when it comes to her; he knows she loves travelling but if they were ever grounded he'd want to be stuck with her. She means more than the adventures and is what he needs most in this universe; a hand to hold. She chased away his loneliness, gave him something to believe in and even made him fall in love, something he'd once thought impossible. He'd been captivated by her from the start, had his hearts stolen and been powerless against it but he wouldn't have it any other way because when she's there with him and he holds her in his arms, he is home.
The Doctor gently pulled away from Rose, breaking all contact with her and leaning back against the wall. Before he could gage her reaction her gaze dropped to the floor, hiding her expression from him. He sat in silence and waited for a reaction, his eyes never leaving her and hands fidgeting with anticipation. Every second was like torture, it felt like an eternity before she moved, wrapping her arms around him and pressing her face into the crook of his neck. A tear ran down her cheek and onto his skin, the damp alerting him that she was crying. He wrapped an arm round her and instinctively drew her closer, taking her proximity to mean that at the very least she didn't hate him. He hoped they were tears of happiness or she was simply overwhelmed, but he couldn't be sure if she'd still look at him in the same way and that terrified him. He pushed that thought out of his mind, reminded himself that he was lucky to have her, then cautiously reached across and tucked her hair behind her ear.
Rose looked up at him, leaning the side of her head against his shoulder. Her eyes were glistening and the odd tear ran down her cheeks but she had the most beautiful smile on her face. The fear disappeared from his expression and he smiled back, relieved, there was nothing more he wanted in the Universe than to have her happy and with him, and he had just that. He gently kissed her forehead and she nestled back into him, breathing him in and tightening her grip on him. His smile widened and he willingly pulled her closer, resisting the urge to speak in fear of spoiling the moment.
"Why me?" Her words were muffled against him and tears were still running down her cheeks and onto his skin.
"Why not?" He smiled, almost laughing. "Rose, I showed you why."
Her grin widened. "But why me? It could have been anyone."
"No." He shook his head, fingers stroking her hair. "Only you."
Rose loosened her arms from round his neck, rested her palms over his hearts and looked up at him. "Can I…?" Her hands moved to his face. "It's my turn." She looked into his eyes, her expression was completely sincere. "You need to see yourself." Distress was evident in her voice; she hated that he thought he didn't deserve her.
"I already know." There was no way he couldn't; he saw the way she looked at him, it was the same way he looked at her so he knew that whatever she saw had to be infinitely beautiful.
A smile spread across Rose's face as she leant up towards him, closing her eyes and pushing her face right up to his. She could feel his breath on her face and his nose was cold as it brushed against hers. He was tantalisingly close, pushing his face against hers and wrapping his arms around her waist. "Doctor…" Her breath was warm against his skin as she urged him to close the last bit of space between them. And finally he did just that, pushing his lips up against hers and kissing her for all he was worth. Rose wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer, losing herself in the moment; there was nothing in the Universe more wonderful than him here with her in this moment.
The Doctor's lips curled upwards against hers as he abandoned himself to the kiss, for a moment there was nothing but her in all of creation. He was completely lost in her existence; she was overwhelming all his senses, like she'd poured her very soul into him. He imagined she was filling every corner of his mind with her own, filling the emptiness and wrapping every thought and memory in a warmth that could only be Rose.
He suddenly pulled away from her. He was wrong, it wasn't his imagination; it was real. Rose had opened her mind to him, but he had also opened his own to her. She'd pulled him into her mind and equally poured herself into him, intertwining their minds until they'd become like one. His hands were in her hair and his eyes were wide in fear that she hadn't realised quite what she was doing. "I'll never want to leave." His voice sounded in the depths of her mind; a warning to give her one last chance to withdraw herself and shut him off from her mind.
"I never want you to." The radiant smile on her face told him she'd known exactly what she was doing. She had felt the loneliness in his mind; the loss of his people had left an uncomfortable silence in his mind and even though her very presence could make him so happy he'd forget, that loneliness was always there. But with her mind in there too it was different, the loneliness vanished and was replaced with a warmth unlike anything he'd ever felt before. All she wanted was to take away the loneliness forever, so she'd done so in the only way she ever could and there were no words to describe how thankful he was.
The Doctor rested his fingers on her temples, strengthening the connection and binding their minds permanently. He felt like pouring his every thought and feeling into her head, letting her feel how he felt about her and showing her just how indescribable those feelings were. He wanted to give her every piece of him in body and mind, because she deserved so much more than he had to offer. Here she was having seen his whole life, knowing all his misdeeds, even seeing inside his mind and still she looked at him with such unfathomable love. But he had to remember that she was still human; she wasn't used to telepathy or the presence of another in her mind so he had to take this slowly her sake.
Despite the smile on her face, tears were in her eyes. He could see Rose was exhausted; she was incredibly overwhelmed but equally happy, filled with the most indescribably beautiful feeling. The Doctor reached out and held her face in his hands, watching with fascination as she studied him back, marvelling at the intensity of his feelings for her. There was an infinite amount of love displayed in his eyes and just as much filling her head, so much that she felt like crying. He brushed his thumbs across her cheeks, catching the tears before they could fall, tenderly kissing each cheek and then her nose. "You need some rest." He stood and gently picked her up, cradling her in his arms and taking her to her bed. Rose curled into him, forcing him to lie down with her and he willingly pulled her closer as she rested her head on his chest. "Alright I'll stay." He promised, kissing the top of her head affectionately.
A smile crept over her face; she was already growing accustomed to his presence in her mind and she adored this new feeling. The soft beating of his hearts and the gentle rise and fall of his chest calmed her mind, almost lulling her to sleep. "You're never this quiet." She suddenly pointed out, a touch of humour evident in her voice.
A hint of laughter distorted the Doctor's breath as he exhaled. "Rose…" The contented smile remained on her face as she looked up at him. "You know I…" He paused, well aware that she was looking into his soul at that very moment. She looked utterly breathtaking and he wanted nothing more than to trace his fingers over every beautiful feature, memorise every inch of her body and mind and marvel at her very existence, but he knew this was not the time; there would be plenty of time for that later. "Oh I really do."
"Yeah?" Her smile became a grin and her tongue peeked out from between her teeth. "I do too." After a moment she pulled her gaze from his, nestling back into him.
"One day." He kissed the top of her head, hoping that would be enough for her. "One day I'll say it."
"One day's good." She simply replied. One day was great; after all, they had forever.