A/N: This was written for the dwpronathon's season 1 and 2 rewrite on livejournal! My episode was "The End of the World." Nothing you recognize belongs to me! Note! Not AT ALL Safe for Work!
She felt like she was dreaming. Her heart was pounding and her blood sang through her veins and she must have been hyperventilating hard enough to hallucinate—because if she wasn't, then Rose Tyler, shop girl, was standing inside an alien space-and-time ship staring at its alien pilot who looked rather like a Belfast docks worker and sounded like he was from the North. He moved around the console that dominated the center of the cavernous room with an unconscious grace that belied his coarse appearance. He was all hard lines and sharp angles, from the harsh planes of his face to the sparse lines of his black denim jeans and leather jacket—until you looked into his eyes. They were blue and deep and beautiful, really, far more beautiful than any man's eyes should have been. When he looked at her she could believe that he was an alien and not just some bloke having a pretty girl on. When he stared at her it was like eternity was shining out from behind icy blue windows. "So, Rose Tyler," he began, still pressing buttons and flipping switches. "Where d'you want to go? All of time and space—anywhere or when you want." He shot her a sidelong glance and she replied with a cocked eyebrow.
"Forwards," she told him with far more confidence than she actually felt. "Forwards in time."
He paused. "How far?" His hand hovered over what looked like a rubber wheel.
She picked the first random number that popped into her head. "One hundred years."
He flicked a switch, pulled a lever, and spun the wheel three times. The ship jerked a bit, and then stopped. "There you go," he proclaimed. "Outside it's the twenty-second century, but that's a bit boring, don't you think? Want to go a little further?"
She sent him a cocky grin, the tip of her tongue just barely poking out between her teeth. "I'm game if you are."
He pushed more buttons and spun the wheel again, twelve times. Another, longer jerk and a few bounces and then they were still again. "Ten thousand years in the future," he told her with an arrogant twist of his lips. "Step outside and it's the year 12005, the New Roman Empire."
She laughed. "You think you're so impressive," she told him and there was that smile again, the one that made him weak in the knees, that made him want to find out if her lips were as soft as they looked.
The Doctor paused. He could see two paths stretching out in front of him, two time lines, and something inside of him shifted. It was dangerous, thinking about emotions. The pain and rage and fear and hate were so twisted up inside that sometimes he felt like they were going to rip him apart, that the silence would drive him completely and totally mad and he would be left howling at the darkness, alone and forgotten until his regenerations ran out and the Time Lords were finally and irrevocably gone. And then he'd stumbled upon a jeopardy-friendly blonde in the basement of a department store on the most jeopardy-friendly planet that ever had the misfortune of welcoming him. He was still hurting and he was still afraid and he was still so, so angry at his people—at Rassilon for being a power-hungry maniac, at Romana for making him push the button, at all of the cowardly, snobbish idiots who valued their own lives above the rest of the universe—but for the first time he realized that the rest of his long, long life didn't have to be lived out in penance for his sins (and there were many). He realized that he wanted to be impressive, that he wanted her to see him as a man. He'd played the comfortably asexual alien for more than a thousand years and if he was honest with himself (and this body was into brutal honesty) it was getting old. He was broken and she was far too young for him, far too innocent, but he could almost feel the compassion radiating out from her. It overpowered the natural barriers of her mind, it overwhelmed her fear. She loved, this girl—loved everything: life, her miserable excuse for a boyfriend (ex-boyfriend, if her entrance to the TARDIS was anything to go by), her planet, her family, her friends—the list went on.
He could use some of that right now. He could feel the timelines twisting, stretching, balancing on the edge of a knife around them. Because time wasn't like these humans, silly apes that they were, thought. It wasn't a river or a line—it was an ocean, a vast, swirling mass of moments happening all at once. Thousands of possibilities swirled around them, shifting with every action taken or not taken, except in rare, precious moments when two currents lay stretched out before them. Now was one of those moments. He could laugh off her jest, pretend he didn't see the way her eyes darted down to his lips, curiosity and desire writ large in their honey-colored depths—or he could seize the moment, pull her into his arms, and lay his lips against hers. One path was safe, familiar, the kind of interaction he'd had with many companions over the centuries he'd been traveling. The other—well, if it had been on a map, it would have said 'here be dragons.'
But he was old, and he was tired, and until rather recently he'd thought he was going to die (finally and totally, there's no coming back from fragments of skin and bone). He'd met her, and he found that some small part of him wanted to keep living if it meant seeing her face light up like it had when she left that sniveling excuse for a man on the pavement and bolted towards the TARDIS.
So he moved from the console, stalked over to her like a great dark cat and stood far, far too close. Close enough so that he could feel her breath against the exposed skin of his neck, close enough so that he could feel the heat pouring off of her human body. And was it his imagination, or had her heartbeat increased? He listened for a moment, and then smirked. Not his imagination then.
"I am so impressive," he told her like it was an inescapable truth.
She was staring up at him with wide warm eyes that flickered between his eyes and his lips. She licked her lips and he wondered if she realized what she was doing, and then she raised her chin. "Prove it," she challenged just a tad breathlessly.
He had a few options, but he'd already invaded her personal space and from the way she was looking at him he really didn't think that she'd mind—so he slid one hand into her hair and used it to tilt her face up to meet his own and then he was finding out that yes, her lips were soft and they tasted faintly like the strawberry lipbalm she must have slicked on earlier. Her hands slid up over the soft wool of his jumper and found his ears and maybe they weren't so bad after all, not if she could use them as hand-holds.
She was expecting the strange sensation that overtook her but even so it hit her like a freight train. His lips touched hers and his tongue danced against them and they were no longer stationary; they were rotating at a thousand miles an hour, hurtling through space at sixty-seven thousand miles an hour, pushing further and further out into the universe as it expanded. They were twisting and turning and spinning and over-under-beside the earth but the floor was solid beneath her feet and he was solid against her body and she held on because if she let go she felt like the sheer momentum of the moment might send her spinning off into space.
Eventually he had to release her lips because unlike Time Lords, human beings didn't come with a respiratory bypass. Shoddy evolution, that. Of course, they also couldn't regenerate and lacked the second heart that would make half of his superior physiology possible. "So," he drawled. "Impressed?"
She took a moment to breathe and then flashed him a cheeky smile. "I'll let you know after we actually get somewhere," she replied.
He looked hurt. "Oi! We are somewhere, thank you very much."
She rolled her eyes. "Somewhere else."
A slow smile spread across his face. "Oh, I know just where to take you." He whirled away from her and back to the console, dancing around it as he adjusted levers and pressed buttons and spun the rubber wheel thingy a great many times. "Hold on to your hats!" he called and she obediently grabbed onto one of the coral support struts that were scattered at seemingly random intervals. The jerking and bouncing lasted for a good three minutes and by the time the ship stilled again Rose was surprised that she wasn't on the floor. If traveling was always that bumpy she'd need to invest in a helmet or she'd be walking around half-addled all the time.
"Where are we?" she asked as she made her way over to the console. The Doctor was still standing next to it.
He grinned. "Further than I've ever been before. Now, why don't you nip over to the wardrobe? Should be something on the second floor, fifth rack."
She stared at him. "Your ship has a wardrobe an' it's got multiple stories?"
He snorted. "Of course the TARDIS has a wardrobe. What sort of rubbish time machine doesn't? It's just down that way: first left, second right, third on the left, go straight ahead, under the stairs, past the bins, it's the fifth door on your left. Hurry up!"
"Keep your shirt on," she replied and then glanced back at him. "Aren't you going to change?"
"What's wrong with my jumper?" he asked.
She rolled her eyes. "Something fancy out there, yeah? Won't jeans and a jumper be a little out of place?"
"This look is classic, Rose Tyler," he told her, and made a shooing motion with his hand. She rolled her eyes but complied.
He wasn't exactly sure why he'd picked the end of the world as their first excursion. It didn't sound like anything previous companions would have appreciated, but then she wasn't like any of his previous companions. Maybe it was masochism, maybe he wanted to see how far her compassion could extend, or maybe he wanted to show her something earth-shattering.
The fondness for truly horrible puns was holding steady, apparently. As quirks went it wasn't bad; at least he wasn't licking everything or pinning decorative vegetables to his lapel. Bit phallic, that celery, not that he'd noticed at the time. He'd been a bit pretty in that body but he'd kept himself carefully controlled, carefully isolated from his companions. Hundreds of years of Time Lord discipline and he was ready to chuck it right out the window because all of their rules and regulations and lofty philosophical ideals hadn't been able to save them. In the end they'd become monsters—and then they burned. He'd been the one to hold the torch to the funeral pyre, to set his people and his planet ablaze.
The Doctor had always been a rebel, always railing against short-sighted, pompous elders who were so abominably stuck in their ways that they couldn't be bothered to stir themselves unless they were goaded, but he'd carried the culture with him. Even now a little voice muttered in his skull, reminded him that fraternizing with lower species was forbidden. He told that little voice in graphic detail exactly where it could go shove itself. He was the last. Whatever his people had been, he was what they would be, and he was tired. He was tired of holding himself apart, tired of carrying the universe on his shoulders, tired of not having a home (he'd been homeless long before he destroyed Gallifrey). For the first time since the Cloister bell had summoned him to war he wanted to live.
Footsteps on the grating alerted him to her presence. He glanced up and his eyes widened. He knew that she was brave and clever and kind and rather pretty. He'd been unaware of just how beautiful she could be. The dress she'd chosen was from a few years in the future but not noticeable enough to cause problems. It was deep, deep blue and rather modest. The wide boat neck left her shoulders almost bare and skimmed the top of her cleavage and the thin fabric clung to her body in ways that made him jealous of the soft material. Three-quarter length sleeves left her forearms almost bare, except for a handful of thin golden bangle-bracelets that wreathed her wrists. She wore a necklace of twisted golden chains and her hair was piled artfully on top of her head. The TARDIS light caught her hair, turning it into a blazing golden halo and something in the time line resonated within him. She was/is/will/would always be his golden girl.
He was seriously considering leading her back down the corridor to his bedroom, and to hell with the party. He was cold and cut-off and alone, and she promised warmth and companionship. She fidgeted under his gaze and a pale blush climbed her cheeks.
"Well?" she asked. "How do I look?"
"Beautiful," he breathed.
She smiled at him then, soft and sort of shy. "Yeah?" Shy, her? It warms him a bit, to know that his opinion mattered to her.
He stepped closer to her, reached down and took her hand. "I know of thirteen planets where you'd be worshipped as a goddess," he told her, his face and voice serious. "And they'd be right to." The moment stretched on as she looked at him with something like wonder in her eyes and then he forced himself away because if he didn't he would take her right there, push her against the TARDIS wall or doors and lose himself in her innocence. That could come later (as could they, the puns were out in full force), after she was suitably impressed. He threw open the door and she followed him outside, her fingers still intertwined with his. He paused for a moment to sonic a panel that was set into the wall next to the TARDIS. Opposite them a huge window opened and the Earth was revealed hanging in space.
He led her to the window. She stepped close and he wrapped his arms around her. He couldn't not. There was something about her, something magnetic that called to him. With his skin against hers he could just barely discern the flutter of her thoughts. It soothed the aching wound that was the loss of his people. "You lot. You spend all your time thinking about dying," he murmured, his lips brushing the shell of her ear. She shivered. "Like you're going to get killed by eggs or beef or global warming or asteroids. But you never take time to imagine the impossible: maybe you survive. This is the year 5.5/apple/26. Five billion years in your future. This is the day the sun expands." He paused. "Welcome to the end of the world."
The vibrantly blue Steward checked his list once more. The two strangers—the Doctor and Rose Tyler—weren't on his list, but their invitation checked out. Thankfully they had guest suites to spare. He led them down the smooth stone corridors of Platform One to a door that looked like it was made of thick frosted glass. He pressed a series of buttons and then handed the Doctor a slip of paper with the code printed on it. "Your suite sir, madam," he said with a simper. "Earth death is schedules for 15:39 with drinks to follow in the Manchester room. The other guests should be arriving momentarily." He paused. "And may I remind you sir that there is a dress code. Guidelines are available in your rooms."
"Ta for that," the Doctor replied a bit sourly. He glared at the alien's back as the blue man walked away.
Rose hid a grin. "Shall we enter?" she asked, affecting a rather posh accent.
"Think so," he replied and entered the code. The doors parted and slid back into the wall. She stepped into the room and gasped. It was opulent, to say the least. The carpet was thick and soft enough so that she wobbled a bit in her stiletto heels. He took her arm to steady her and kept it because he liked the way she shivered when he touched her. The walls were a pale, soothing green and the carpet was a brown so dark it was almost black. The back wall of the room was one huge window looking out into space. Stars sparkled against the black velvet void like diamonds. It was a breathtaking view.
The first room appeared to be some kind of sitting room. Long, low couches lined the walls and faced the window. A few tables were scattered about between the couches and recessed lighting gave the room a soft golden tinge. The Doctor's eyes found a cabinet set into the wall and a bright grin lit up his face. "Look, Rose, nibbles!" He pulled the door open and began taking an inventory of the contents. "Fantastic food in the year five billion."
Her lips quirked into a smile but she had eyes only for the window. She could never see stars in London. The smog was too thick or the light was too bright. She'd been out in the countryside once when she was a little girl, and she'd never forgotten how the night sky looked. To see it like this, from an alien space station billions of years in the future—she'd never thought it was possible. The glass was so clear she felt like she could reach out and touch the pinpricks of light.
"'S beautiful," the Doctor murmured in her ear. Rose jumped. She hadn't heard him approach at all.
She thumped him on the chest. "Oi, don't sneak up on me like that!"
He caught her wrist and spun her around like they were dancing. She ended up with her back pressed against the cool glass of the window and the hard planes of his body pressed against her front. "Beautiful," he asserted again, but he wasn't looking at the window—he was staring at her. And there it was, that expression that pulled her to him when he first took her hand and let her feel the turning of the Earth. There was hope and fear and pain so deep she thought she'd drown in it behind those eyes. And there was want too, a kind of dark fire that sent heat to pool between her legs.
He let go of her wrist and let his eyes trace the curves of her body, as emphasized by her dress. Well, the curves he could see, anyway. His hips were pressed tightly against her, pinning her to the glass and she was soft and warm and trembling just a bit. She was watching him with wide brown eyes and worrying her bottom lip with her teeth. One hand slid up her arm to the back of her neck to tangle in her hair while the other hand rested on the curve of her hip. Her hands slipped inside his jacket and beneath the soft wool of his jumper and he gasped at the feel of her. She traced lines of fire over his skin and that was it.
He kissed her like he was drowning and she was oxygen. She lost herself for a moment in the coolness of his lips and tongue and the faint chill of his mouth. She felt like she was burning. When he let her take a breath she pulled back just a hair. "How long 'til the party starts?" Rose asked, a bit breathless.
The Doctor paused. "Bout forty minutes."
Her grin was wicked. "Time enough." She pulled her hands out from under his jumper and wound them around his neck. She stood on her tip toes, using him for balance. "Impress me," she whispered against his ear. And there—the timelines shifted around them and the possibilities that resulted were endless.
He never could resist a challenge.
One of the other doors led to a bedroom but The Doctor wasn't sure they'd make it. He hadn't been with anyone in this body and it was relatively new and sensitive. She dug her nails into his jacket and bit his neck and then he knew that they definitely weren't going to make it to a bed. She didn't seem to mind. He tugged on her hair gently, repositioned her head so that he could press his lips to her neck. She whimpered when he nipped her lightly, working from just under her ear down to her shoulder. His mouth fastened on the smooth skin just above her clavicle and his hand on her hip curved around to cup her bum and pull her closer. One of her hands held his head where it was and the other slipped the tips of her fingers beneath the waistband of his jeans. He jerked into her, hard and hot and wanting so, so badly to bury himself inside of her and let her burn him from the inside out.
His hand moved from her bum to her waist to her stomach to the swell of her breast. The fabric of the dress was thin and he could feel her react to his touch, the nub of her nipple lifting, the fabric catching against the rough skin of hands used to working with machines, not pleasuring a woman. Oh, he'd danced before, but not for a very long time and never with a human. Her fingers tightened around his waistband as he teased the little bit of flesh, scraping his nail across it and sending tingling need throughout her body. Her hand left his head and shoved at his jacket.
"Off," she commanded, desire making her voice breathy. He released her long enough to shrug the jacket from his shoulders. She yanked his jumper up and he pulled it over his head. Without the armor his layers provided he was surprisingly lean, but sleek. He had a swimmer's build and runner's legs. He wasn't built, like Jimmy, but she got the feeling that he was probably stronger and he was already proving to be a much better shag than her previous boyfriends. Her hands returned to his jeans but he pushed them away.
"My turn," he growled, and slipped his hand into the slit in the skirt of her dress. It was relatively modest—only reached to mid-thigh—but it put her legs on display and provided the access he needed. He slid his palm across her leg and up and she arched into him, pressing her cloth-covered breasts against the bare skin of his chest. His fingers found the crotch of her knickers and he toyed with the lacy edges for a moment, just long enough to make her shift in a desperate attempt to get those fingers where she needed them. He pushed the bit of fabric aside and slid a finger into her. She cried out and wrapped one arm around his shoulders. The other grasped his hip.
Oh, she was ready for him. She was even hotter between her legs than she was in her mouth and she was wet, so wet. He wanted to taste her. He wanted to sink to his knees and spread her legs and let his tongue explore where his finger danced, but there would be time for that later. His cock was straining against his jeans; the pressure was almost unbearable. He'd never been so hard for anyone before, never thought of sex as something he needed. If human males felt like this constantly it was a wonder they did anything else! He slid another finger inside and she cried out. Her hips rocked against his hand and she murmured in his ear.
"Please, please Doctor. God—need you. Please." The words tumbled from her lips and he wasn't sure that she was aware she was speaking. Her eyes were glazed and wide and she clutched him with a strength he found surprising. And then she sucked his earlobe into her mouth and scraped her teeth over it and he groaned and bucked against her thigh. He pulled his fingers out of her and sucked the taste of her from them. She licked her lips and he kissed her hard, teeth and tongues battling for dominance. She could taste herself on his lips and she melted against him. Two quick, streamlined motions and his jeans were sliding down his legs. She slipped her hand into his pants and wrapped her blazing fingers around his cock. His hips jerked involuntarily and he moaned. His forehead rested against her shoulder and he turned his face so he could bite her neck, could leave another mark on her skin. Mine, the bruises said.
She stroked him, squeezed him, and was rewarded with gasping curses and half-heard words in a strange, musical language. The Doctor could feel his control rapidly slipping, and kissed her hard. He slid his hands over her bum and urged her legs up around his waist. She complied, wrapping them tightly around him. He was so close to where he wanted to be. Her damp knickers pressed against his cock and he heaved, easily lifting her a few inches higher. He held her there, her back pressed against the cool glass, and he reached between her legs and shoved her frilly knickers aside. He released her, let her slide down the window and on to his cock. She arched her back as she sank onto him, inch by inch. He knew that he should give her a moment, give them both a moment, to get used to the sensation of being joined but he couldn't. The urge to move was overpowering and he was thrusting against her, pressing her up and back against the window. She met him with equal need, her nails scrabbling against his back and he hissed as she scratched him.
It was good, so good being inside her—but it wasn't enough. They were still two people and everything within him cried out against that. Her breath hitched and he could tell that she was close, so close, and so was he. His hand found her temple and all of the barriers between them dropped. They breathed together and they moved together and this was what sex was about—it was about connection, about becoming one soul in two bodies. Every sensation was doubled—she felt him thrust his cock into her and she was the one thrusting. His own desire met hers and merged. It was magnified and reflected back to them. It built and built and he could feel her compassion seeping into the darkness that ate at him, could feel the warmth of her body and her beautiful, welcoming mind drive out the blistering cold that had settled between his hearts. He shifted a bit, changed the angle, and she was gone. Her whole body contracted around him. Her orgasm touched off his own and he was thrusting wildly into her, groaning curses and promises in a language that no one but him spoke anymore.
He continued to move until she stopped, until she hung against him, her single heart pounding and her forehead resting against his. He broke the mental connection, let his hand fall from her temples and she took a deep, shuddering breath. She unhooked her legs from his waist and slid down his body until her feet hit the floor. He stepped back, giving her some space while he tucked himself away.
"Is it always like that?" she asked after a moment.
He shrugged. "Not sure. My people didn't do this sort of thing."
She blinked. "What, sex?" He nodded. She frowned. "Where did babies come from, then?"
"Genetically engineered," he replied as he picked his jumper and jacket off the floor. "Time Lords were a right frigid lot." His breath caught on the 'were' and his jaw tensed. She didn't push, and he was glad. Instead she tried another tack.
"S what I am," he said and glanced in the closest room. The TARDIS sat against the wall. Apparently teleportation was forbidden on Platform One, so they'd had to let the staff wheel the ship to the suite while they let the Steward flutter around in a panic. "Ten minutes until the party starts, Rose Tyler." The corners of his eyes crinkled as he gave her a manic grin. "You may want to fix your hair."
Rose examined her face in the mirror. Besides her badly smudged make-up and wild hair she didn't look any different. She'd just had sex with an alien, after all. Shouldn't she look different? And it was strange because she didn't love him, not yet, and she'd never fucked anyone she didn't love—but she thought that she could. She thought that maybe she will love him, this strange, broken soldier, this alien who has seen the beginning and end of the Earth, of thousands of planets, who has saved millions of lives and lost so much. Underneath the burning passion and the blinding passion there was an ache that she knew came from loss, from pain. She'd felt it like it was her own when his fingers crossed her temples. He was alien, so alien, but you'd never know unless you touched him (or fucked him). She wondered if all aliens were like that.
They weren't. She was standing in the cavernous room again surrounded by creatures that could have been characters on any number of Sci-fi shows waiting for the Earth to explode. The Doctor wasn't helping. She voiced her observations and he made cheap jokes about the South. Then there was that woman Jabe. She was from somewhere called 'The Forest of Cheem' and she was a tree. A beautiful, elegant, talking and walking tree. Her eyes lingered on the purple bruises the Doctor's mouth had left on Rose, one on her neck and the other on her clavicle. When she queried him on the nature of their relationship (Wife? Nope. Concubine? Nope. Prostitute? Nope) it took all of Rose's self control to keep from slapping her.
He knew that he probably should have explained to Rose why Jabe was so curious, but then she'd get embarrassed and probably a little angry and he wanted to avoid fighting with her until his body stopped tingling with the remembrance of their previous activities. There hadn't been time for a shower before the party started—there'd been barely enough time for him to pull on the tuxedo he'd dug out of the wardrobe. Rose was never going to let him live that down—she'd been right, after all.
His scent was all over her, and Jabe (like most sentient life-forms evolved from plants) had very sensitive biochemical receptors. They weren't as sensitive as his own were but they were close. He had marked her, claimed her, and she had done the same to him. In the Forests of Cheem they would be on the same level as a mated pair. Rose was having a hard enough time acclimatizing to the mixture of aliens around her, he didn't want to add even more culture shock. She was brave and clever, but still only human and from a time period when alien contact was still conducted in secret. She'd shagged him, but he didn't look nearly as alien as the people around them, never mind that he was a good deal more alien than most of them. Like the devil, it was in the details.
Of course, as he was the Doctor the universe couldn't let him have one day without a plot or invasion. He'd tried to make Rose stay with the others but she'd have none of it, especially when Jabe offered to show him the maintenance duct behind her suite. In the end he was glad, because if Jabe had been the one to accompany him after Lady Cassandra O'Brian- the so called 'last human' who was more alien than most of the lot there—disabled the shields, the tree woman would have been burned alive. All of the heat vented into the air conditioning chamber, which was coincidentally where the manual reset was located.
After he had brought the shields back up (just in time) and punished the greedy, arrogant Cassandra did the real work begin. The station was in chaos. Several important (meaning rich) aliens were dead, including the Steward, and Rose had gone missing. With no one to turn to, the staff unanimously elected him to be in charge. The Doctor, however, had other ideas. With a jeopardy-friendly blonde to locate, he instead nominated one of the bright blue aliens (they all looked the same to him) and left the situation in his (hopefully) very capable hands.
He found her in another one of the huge rooms. She stood in front of the window, staring out into space as chunks of the Earth swirled around Platform One. He leaned against the doorframe, arms crossed over his chest, and watched as she lifted one hand to touch the glass. Tears followed the curve of her cheek to drip off of her jaw and onto the smooth skin just above her collarbone. Something unfamiliar stirred within him, something warm and dangerous. He wanted to protect her, to hold her close and keep the darkness away from her. He needed her compassion, her warmth, and he knew that if given half a chance the cruelty of life would snuff it out. He also knew that she would never let him hide her away. She challenged him, fought him, reminded him that though she may be human she was every bit his equal.
She turned to look at him as he moved to stand beside her. The pain was horribly raw in her eyes. "The end of the Earth. It's gone. And we were too busy saving ourselves, no one saw it go." She sniffed and turned back to the window. "All those years... all that history and no one was even looking."
He took her hand. They stood for a moment, bathed in the reddish glow of the sun. "My planet burned," he told her quietly. "Like the Earth. It's just rocks and dust now. There's no-one else—I'm the last of the Time Lords. You think it'll last forever: people, and cars and concrete—but it won't. One day, it's all gone, even the sky."
"What happened?" she asked, her eyes warm and wet.
He looked away. "There was a war, an' we lost. I'm left traveling on my own because they're all dead—there's no one left."
She squeezed his hand until he tore his eyes away from the destruction in front of them. "There's me," she offered.
He stared at her, confusion and wonder and hope warring for expression on his beautiful, mobile face. "You've seen how dangerous it can be," he warned her. "Are you sure that's what you want?"
She nodded, and then paused. "When I have a bad day, I get chips." He blinked. She smiled at him. "Let's get chips, yeah?"
He smiled back at her. "Yeah."
Chips. They had just come from the end of the world, and they were eating chips. He watched her lift one of the golden fried potato slices to her lips, watched her lick off the salt and vinegar and bite down slowly. She watched him watch her and he knew that she understood perfectly what her gorgeous mouth was doing to him. Her eyes, however, were troubled. The tears had dried, leaving her looking tired and a little worn but the innocence was still there, the wonder still seethed beneath the surface.
"So," she said after she polished off the last of her chips and he'd eaten his own. "Not your wife, not your concubine or your prostitute—what am I then, Doctor?"
He could hear the vulnerability in her voice and he realized that he'd been wrong earlier, when he thought that sex was the moment of truth, the moment when he was presented with a choice between possibilities. It was now. The sex was inevitable—but his answer was not. He reached across the table and cupped her soft cheek with one large, rough hand. "The future," he told her. Her answering smile was like the sunrise.