She wasn't there when he woke up.

He should have known, really, that she wouldn't be there beside him. It was too good, the feel of her lying next to him, in his arms. Too simply perfect - too perfectly simple for the complicated lives they were creating.

Had she ever been there? Was that feeling just something his mind had created to torture and mock him with the fact that it didn't happen when he wake up? (His dreams, like the universe, had a terrible sense of humor.) Maybe he was on the TARDIS and all of this – the past few weeks, the Daleks and the Metacrisis and the small but quickly growing TARDIS in an attic – was a dream.

The pounding of his single heart in his chest had never felt as fantastic as it did right then. The Doctor reluctantly willed his eyes to open and found himself staring up at the off-white ceiling painted with the light seeping through the window curtains. The sharp chirps of the birds outside and the drone of cars and the sound of an airplane passing overhead were definitely not the dull hum of the TARDIS. It was not a dream. (Not this at least. Rose ever being there, waking him from his nightmare and consoling him was still something that hadn't been proven.)

And in the moment when he opened his eyes and saw that it wasn't a dream, he realized that he was happy. Happy to be here on the small, watery rock that was Earth. Happy that he only had one heart (in his own chest) no (flight worthy) TARDIS, and no sonic screwdriver. He was happy that he was here with Rose Tyler, the woman he loved and hadn't told nearly often enough. He was going to have to fix that quickly. He moved so quickly he nearly fell out of the bed.

xXxXxXx

He found her on the couch, flipping through the pages of a book that he sure she's read at least twice since the beach with one hand, and her fingers curled around a mug of dark coffee. She didn't notice him at first, hardly giving him a glance as he knelt in front of her, pressing his hands against the slick leather of the sofa. "Rose,"

She looked then, smiling at him briefly before frowning. " You hog the blankets." She said, and suddenly she was being pulled closer to him and pushed back against the back of the couch and his lips are pressed against hers. ( She had been there, she had stayed – this confirmation overjoyed him.) The taste of coffee of her coffee was on her lips, the strong smell of the earthy drink filling the gaps left between the sweet smell of Rose's apple-blossom shampoo. Her fingers were still laced around the mug as his hands find her waist, pulling her closer if possible and she laughed against his lips. Eventually they broke away out of a mutual need for air, but their faces remained close, foreheads pressed together and noses brushing.
"Um…" She stared at him, wide eyed, mouth twitching into a smile. " Hi. " Rose managed after a moment, finding her voice.

"Hello," he grinned back.

"He-" She nearly repeated herself, catching on the word and clearing her throat. " That was…unexpected."

"Good? Bad? Really have to know the details, Miss Tyler."

"…good, I'd say. Very good." She nodded, pulling at a strand of hair that had worked its way free of the messy ponytail that it had been in. He reached up, brushing it behind her ear, smiling gently. There was silence then, somehow the same comfortable silence that they couldn't have seemed to find since the last time they kissed and he nearly felt bad breaking it.

"I love you, Rose." ( Nearly felt bad. But the strange half-smile that those words put on her lips and the feel of finally saying them in a voice louder than a whisper made it worth it.)

Rose didn't say anything for a moment. "Quite right, too." (Those words had passed his lips once before, when he was buying for time to not say the only words he ever wanted to say. And now they passed hers for the same reason. She loved the Doctor – she loved him, the one who showed her the stars, and she loved him, the man who had stayed with her and loved her and was a rather fantastic kisser, but her mouth had not caught up to her heart, not quite yet. She was buying time until it did.)

Aaand a slightly fluffy chapter! Savor it while you can, my friends. BWAHAHAI mean what? No, this story is ONLY FLUFF FROM HERE ON. That sentence is not a lie in the least bit. Not at all. No idea about what you're talking about ,only fluff and happiness found here.

….well, anyway. I hope you enjoyed this rather late chapter. I'll try to get back onto all of my regularly scheduled postings soon. Until then, mind giving me a comment? They make me as happy as…something. Just something. Make up something on your own. That's how happy they make me. :D