Two weeks later

"You never talk about it," the Doctor whispered into Rose's ear, his arm slung around her waist from behind.

"What's that?"

"What you get up to in Pete's World."

"You never ask," she giggled, then turned over to face him.

"That's because I still can't wrap my head around the fact that you have this whole other life that I'm not part of," he said softly.

"Oh, you're part of it," she disagreed. "You may not physically be there, but everything I do there is more or less in memory of you. The travelling, the aliens, the defending the Earth. The meeting people and trying to do what's right. The spending time with the family that you brought together for me. I'm able to do all that because of you. And I never forget that. I probably think about you...oooh, every other hour of the day?" She flashed him a cheeky grin.

"Only every other hour?" he murmured, eyes widened in mock-outrage.

"Well, I'm a busy woman," she teased, raking her hands through his hair. "Can't go all soppy and write poetry about you all day long."

He waggled his eyebrows at her and tilted his head to kiss her forehead tenderly. "You know, I met Dylan Thomas once. A few months after you...He started reciting poetry about love and loss and I'm ashamed to say that I nearly punched the man in the face. I didn't, obviously. But the thought of doing so is bad enough. Still. He hit a nerve, figuratively speaking."

She smiled sadly. "It's nearly time for me to go again."

"I know," he sighed. They shared a lingering kiss. "Tomorrow, when you get here, I want us to share some stories."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah. We've been so busy reminiscing and, er, catching up, that I hardly know anything about your job or your brother and everything. I want to know anything that you're happy to share."

"Okay," she grinned, strangely excited by the prospect. "And the same goes for you, yeah?"

He nodded. "Yes."

"I'm looking forward to it," she told him, then sat up and stretched. "Right. I'd better get dressed."

"Mmm," he agreed, stroking his hand down her back gently.

"You're tired. You should get some sleep."

Timely, he let out a wide yawn. "It appears you are correct. As usual."

"Of course," she grinned, getting up and gathering her clothes.

Once she was dressed, she bent down to give him a quick kiss on the lips. "Night, Doctor."

"Goodnight," he murmured back, grabbing her hand and squeezing it briefly. "Love you."

She beamed as she faded away.

The Doctor rolled onto his front, buried his nose in her pillow, and fell into a deep sleep filled with dreams of Rose Tyler.

::

The following day passed quickly for the Doctor, as he and his companions got caught up in a fast-paced adventure with some lost Berochhi. After sending them happily in the correct direction, the trio congratulated themselves on their success at averting a worldwide crisis with a few drinks in the kitchen.

Two o'clock in the morning came and went without Martha and Donna realising, but the Doctor noticed; he started to get a bit twitchy when, by two-thirty, she still hadn't arrived.

After he'd glanced at the clock one too many times, Donna caught on. "Oh. Listen, Doctor, don't worry, yeah? She's probably just busy."

"Mmm."

Martha's eyelids had started to droop but she suddenly jerked awake when her mobile rang. "Oh god, it's Mum. I wonder what Dad's done this time," she muttered, then hurried out of the kitchen to take the call.

"I'll keep you company 'til Rose turns up," Donna declared, pouring herself another drink.

He smiled gratefully, aware that his leg was jiggling restlessly. "Thanks, Donna."

"No problem." She paused, then asked, "Seeing as I've got you alone, can I ask you something?"

He eyed her suspiciously; it wasn't like Donna to check before saying something. "Okay…" he replied slowly.

"Are you finding it easier, with her coming back for a couple of hours each night, or is it making it more difficult to be without her the rest of the time?"

The Doctor blinked in surprise. "Easier. By far, Donna." He met her gaze steadily. "You know what I was like, just after. That never really went away, you know. You and Martha being here has helped significantly, of course – you both helped me get back on track and made me laugh again - but I always missed her just as much as I did when I first lost her. So getting her back, even for just a short time each day, it's…" He let out a long breath. "It's better than I could've hoped for, really. I was so convinced I'd never see her again."

Donna nodded, and smiled warmly. "I'm glad you're happy."

"Thank you," he smiled back. Then a thought struck him. "How about you? And Martha? Are you two okay with it?"

Donna rolled her eyes. "Why shouldn't we be? We're asleep most of the times she's here anyway, Dumbo. Besides, I like her. She's funny, and she doesn't put up with your bullshit, either, which is always good to see."

"Oi!"

"I think she's good for you," Donna chuckled. "It takes a few shouts from me to get you to shut up or stop being arrogant; she can do it with just a look!"

He cleared his throat awkwardly. "Yes, well. You don't want to get on her bad side," he murmured seriously, then grinned.

Donna laughed. "She's feisty. I'd like to see her defeating some aliens and saving the world – I'll bet that's a riot!"

"I'd like to see the three of you teaming up! Rassilon, what creature would stand a chance against that?"

"You're probably right," Donna grinned proudly. "You'd better watch it, or you could have a mutiny on your hands."

"And I expect that the TARDIS would take your side too. She always did when Rose was angry with me."

"Don't know how you'd cope if all four of your girls ganged up on you at once," giggled Rose, as she shimmered into place by the sink.

The Doctor jumped in surprise at the sound of her voice. "Rose!"

Donna smiled. "He was getting worried you weren't gonna show."

"Yeah, sorry I'm late. Got caught up with the Silurians. Awkward business, but we came to some agreement."

The Doctor and Rose stared at each other for a moment, simply smiling.

Donna snorted at their mutual gaze of adoration. "I'll say goodnight," she announced, standing up.

"Night Donna," the Doctor and Rose chorused.

As she left the kitchen, Donna glanced over her shoulder and promptly pulled a face when she witnessed them kissing. Honestly. She dreaded to think what they got up to in that room.