His eyes fluttered open slowly as he awoke. Spooned behind Rose as he was, her hair was tickling his nose, so he tilted his head back slightly and yawned. He rolled onto his back, stared up at the ceiling and ignored the misplaced expectancy of a certain part of his anatomy, a slow smile creeping across his face as he realised that some of his memories were bleeding through. It had started last night in his dreams; a footprint in the snow and a dress fit for Naples; looking out through the glass at the Earth coming to its end; a hand in his as he ran across a bridge on a London evening. And then this morning, waking up just now and seeing a picture so vivid, so startlingly true: Rose, engulfed with the golden tendrils of the vortex. He let out a long breath. Oh, his precious girl. What she had done for him.
He turned his head and watched Rose sleeping quietly beside him. Unable to resist, he reached a hand up and smoothed her hair out of her eyes for her. His fingertips lingered on her cheeks, stroking softly. "Rose," he whispered. "Rose, I'm starting to remember."
She made a little grumbling noise as she started to waken, brushing his hand from her face and snuggling deeper beneath the duvet. He tilted his body towards her, resting on his side again, and dropped his arm around her waist. "Okay," he murmured, a daft grin on his face. "You sleep some more. I'll lie here and see if I can remember anything else."
It came back in waves, after that. When he was making toast later that morning, he suddenly recalled another kitchen, in a tiny flat, and Rose telling him off for eating a slice of Jackie's newly-made apple pie before it had even cooled down. He'd burnt his tongue.
And then he turned around to tell Rose about this new memory, and she was dozing at the table, head resting on her arms. He tutted and came and sat down in front of her, loudly placing the plate of toast on the table. "Anyone would think I'd kept you up all night or something," he teased.
"If only," she muttered, lifting her head up. She stuck her tongue out at him and snagged a piece of toast. "I reckon the last few days must be catching up with me. It's been quite…odd, after all."
He nodded in agreement. "You could say that, yeah."
They watched each other closely over breakfast, taking in each bite of toast and each sip of tea.
"You're very sexy like this," he murmured suddenly, apropos of nothing. He waved his hand at her in indication of his point. "All…rumpled and sleepy."
Rose arched an eyebrow. "If you say so."
"I do say so," he insisted, his tone lowering. "Rose, did we once sleep in a hammock together or did I dream that one?"
She giggled, "No, that's true actually. It was very uncomfortable, but there wasn't much choice about it. Why?"
"Oh, nothing," he replied innocently.
"No, go on, tell me."
He exhaled thoughtfully. "It's just that I have this distinct memory of waking up, in a hammock, with a crick in my neck, and with you in my arms, and wanting to kiss you. You looked just like you look right now."
Rose grinned slowly. "Why didn't you?"
"Because the dragon creature we were hiding from found us at the exact moment I'd made the decision to tilt my head towards yours."
"Yeah," Rose laughed. "That did spoil the moment a bit, didn't it?"
"It's floating back, Rose. Told you it would. I'm getting little snippets, little flashes of memory. And as I recall more and more, it comes back quicker and quicker."
"What else do you remember?" she asked, leaning across the table and taking his hand in hers, giving it a squeeze.
"I remember a Beatles concert. And I remember you telling Paul that he ought to change his haircut. In fact you told each one of them to change their haircut. I don't think they appreciated that advice, Rose Tyler."
She beamed at him. "I'm so glad you're starting to remember stuff. And in so much detail."
"I remember being banished by Queen Victoria. I'm not sure why we were banished, but I distinctly remember the telling off we got for whatever it was." Rose laughed again, and it was glorious, so he continued, "Did we ride a moped at some point? I'm getting moped vibes."
"Not in 1879 we didn't," she snorted in amusement.
"No of course not, that would be silly," he agreed. "I wasn't saying that the two events were correlated in any way."
Rose giggled. "Of course not. What else?"
"I remember a man called Jack…Harkness?" He closed his eyes for a moment, as things to do with Jack started taking shape. He frowned suddenly. "Hold on, you didn't…"
"No," she answered. "We didn't."
He smiled. "Good."
"Jealous Time Lord."
"Can't help it," he said sheepishly. He suddenly jumped up from the table.
"Woah, what's up?" she asked worriedly, as she took in his abruptly frantic expression.
"You – you - "
He swallowed hard. "Your face," he whispered.
"Oh. Yeah. Um, that was quite – it wasn't your fault. Don't worry about it."
His expression darkened.
"Seriously, Doctor, don't worry about it." She stood up, too, and looped her arms around his neck. "Everything worked out fine. We saved the coronation. We danced at a street party and drank cheap orange squash. You accidentally touched my bum when I tripped over a stray cupcake and you moved to catch me."
He chuckled. "Sorry about that."
"Don't be," she grinned.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and sighed contentedly. "I've just remembered something else."
"Yeah?" she asked hopefully.
"I don't know where I am, but I'm suspended on some sort of cable down a dark pit, and I nearly make someone promise to tell you I love you if I don't make it back."
Her breath hitched. "Krop Tor," she murmured. "Oh god. You really nearly said that?"
"Yeah," he exhaled roughly. "But I changed my mind, because you knew anyway. You did, yeah? You do know?"
Rose nodded. "Still nice to hear, though."
"Yes, it is rather nice, isn't it?" he hinted.
"I love you, too," she laughed, and he grinned at his successful tactic. "I wonder how we'll know when you've got all your memories back."
"Oh, I'll know," he assured her. "Time Lord minds are ordered things, Rose Tyler. I'm filling in the gaps, and I can tell where the remaining gaps are, if you see what I mean." He lowered his voice. "Thank you for being patient with me, but you needn't worry; it won't be for much longer."
"And then…" she murmured, biting her lip nervously.
"And then," he agreed, with a smirk. He leant in and gave her a soft kiss on the lips. "Alternatively, we could just - "
"Nope," she giggled. "Not until you're fully healed."
He sighed. "Okay."