My Dear Doctor. The path has never seemed more slow, and yet I fear I am nearing its end. Reason tells me that you and I are unlikely to meet again. But I think I shall not listen to reason. I have seen the world inside your head, and know that all things are possible. Hurry though, my love. My days grow shorter now, and I am so very weak. God speed, my lonely angel.

The Doctor tucked the letter inside his jacket and turned his attention back to the fireplace. He extinguished the flames with the push of a button and brought his eyes back to the console, deep in thought.

Then his feet were moving. Moving before his mind knew what was happening. Or, that's what he told himself. And he stood there in her doorway, just where he intended to be no matter what he told himself, when something in his mind snapped. Specifically the part responsible for his self control.

"Thought you were showing Mickey around?"

He was surprised at how quiet it came out. Rose shifted in her seat.

"Said I wanted to relax first. Long day, you know?"

All he could was nod. Rose got out of her seat, a deeply worried look on her face. She opened her mouth to question if he was alright for the second time that night when the Doctor quickly closed the gap between them and kissed her. Fiercely. Judging by the noise she made, the Doctor knew he'd caught her off guard. But Rose made no move to pull away, even though he was sure the unjustified possession he felt as soon as their lips touched just a moment ago, was radiating off of him. He was sure she could feel it.

Much to the Doctor's disdain, Rose pulled her lips away from his and pushed back from him slightly (although not at all out of his embrace). The Doctor refused to meet her eyes, knowing they'd be filled with questions. Questions he did not necessarily want to answer.

His senses were overloaded with every single thing he felt for Rose Tyler at one time.

"I..." she began.

"Look, I'm sorry. You should rest. I'm just gonna go. Shouldn't even have come here, I'm sorry."

The Doctor hurried out of Rose's room and started to retrace his steps to the console room.

That was stupid. No, worse than stupid. That was utterly and completely daft. Who just barges into a bedroom and kisses someone they are most certainly notin any sort of relationship with?

He stopped dead in his tracks as another thought entered his ever-racing mind.

She'll want to leave now, won't she?

The Doctor swore in that instant his hearts broke. He'd finally let himself admit he felt something MORE than what he usually felt towards companions. Then what did he do? Mucked it up by kissing her because he'd gotten overly emotional.

His thoughts were interrupted by footsteps coming up behind him.

"That's not fair."

Her voice would've been a welcome comfort had it not been filled with so much question and hurt.

"Sorry?" he said, turning to face her.

"You can't just ... do that. It's not fair. You can't leave me, finally, FINALLY, come back, mope and be distant, KISS ME, then leave!"

"It's not like that-"

"What's it like then? You snogging me just because you miss her?"

Oh no. No no no no no no. NO. The Doctor never intended it to come off that way. The situation only seemed to be getting worse for him.

"But- you don't- you can't actually believe that?"

Rose shrugged dramatically and turned to walk away. The Doctor grabbed her arm and spun her back around. Her glassy eyes deceived everything she seemed to be trying desperately to cover up with her temper.

"You really want to know why? Blimey, leaving you today wasn't something I really wanted to do! But it could've changed the course of history. You really don't think you weren't running through my head the entire time? Fine, I may have been slightly fascinated by Reinette, but you know me! I'm fascinated by lots of things! Losing her was never why I was moping. Losing her, no matter how sad, only made me think about losing you! Rose Tyler, I love you and the thing that scares me the most is losing you. I honestly cannot tell you what will become of me when that day comes. So there. There's your explanation. I love you. Is that good enough?"

The Doctor surprised even himself with the harshness and honesty of his words. The Doctor nervously ran his hand through his hair, trying his best to avoid Rose's gaze again. After what felt like hours, Rose broke the silence.

"You ... you love me?"

The Doctor cleared his throat, "Yeah."

The words had barely left his mouth when Rose pulled him close to her by the lapels of his suit jacket and pressed her lips to his. He reciprocated instantly, bringing his hands to the small of her back to pull Rose closer. But it was never close enough. Not close enough for him to protect her fragile human life from the danger it was so prone to.

Rose pulled back to breathe and the Doctor found he could use some air, too. Now there was an accomplishment! A human that could take the breath away from a Time Lord. So much for superior biology.

The feel of her hands linking in his jolted the Doctor out of his thoughts. The Doctor met her eyes, seeing all the hurt and worry had melted away. Her eyes were big and brown and happy with a sparkle that was just so very Rose.

"I love you, too. And you're never gonna lose me, I promise."

He hugged her then, silently wishing that was a promise she could keep. Even if it was to old age, well old age for her, he would lose Rose one day. The Doctor wasn't quite sure how he would come to terms with that. If he would come to terms with that. But maybe it had been a good thing, what he just confessed, because surely it would be harder, when that day finally came, to let her go without saying it. How much of her was enough before he could focus on the present and not look forward to that day?

Right then, in that moment, he felt Rose Tyler's heart beating against his chest and decided it was enough.