And here we are at the end of the line. I want to thank everyone for reading and reviewing. Big, big thanks go lastincurableromantic for everything.
Traffic was horrendous. It was bumper to bumper and Pete Tyler didn't seem to be in any hurry to get John to the airport. John drummed his fingers against his luggage and Pete kept throwing pointed glares at him in the mirror. "Say it, just say it," John said, having had enough of the tension between them.
"Alright." Pete's voice was harsher than John had ever heard it. "After what you've done, you don't deserve her."
"I know that," John sighed. "I've never deserved her."
"Then why should I take you to the airport?" Pete challenged.
Leaning forward over the seat, John emphatically said, "Because I noticed her when no one else did. I've known for years just how brilliantly amazing your daughter is. And if she gives me another chance, I will spend the rest of my life trying to make her happy."
Pete grinned and yanked hard at the wheel. "Hold on. It may get a little bumpy." He pulled into an alley barely wide enough for the car and took several more turns before turning onto a clear road. In less than ten minutes, they arrived at the private airfield and the car pulled up right in front of the twin engine jet. Both men exited the car and John came face to face with Pete.
"If you hurt her again, John…"
"I won't, sir. I need her. I don't think I could live without her."
Pete nodded. "13 Rue des Beaux Arts, she's staying with her friend Wilf. Good luck."
"Thank you," John nodded and stepped onto the plane. The steward shut the door behind them and the engines fired into life.
"We have one plane in front of us. So it will be just a few minutes before we're in the air. Can I get you anything before takeoff, sir?" The steward asked.
"Cuppa tea," John said, taking in a deep breath. "Might help me to clear my head and figure out how I'm going to apologize for being an idiot."
A series of small issues had caused her plane to be more than two hours late in its departure and that had given Rose entirely too much time to think. By the time Wilf and Jenny picked her up from the airport, Rose was emotionally drained and practically dead on her feet. Dark storm clouds loomed overhead, almost completely drowning out the sun, the weather somehow mimicking how she felt.
A not so small part of this was her fault. How stupid could she have been? Jack had been engaged when she had come back to the Estate. What had she expected? That Jack would just leave his fiancée and everyone would have been happy for them?
No, she had never really wanted to be the reason that Jack ended his engagement. If Rose was being honest with herself, what she had really wanted to share a dance and a drink with Jack and have him let her down gently. That would have put an end to all those childish dreams she'd had. Although she hadn't known it at the time, she had figured it out rather quickly.
John's intentions (not his actions, but his intentions) had been understandable. He was trying to protect his brother from trying to yet again dodge responsibility and accountability. And it would have appeared that Rose was trying to play a part in that, as the other woman in Jack and Christina's relationship. That thought didn't sit well with her.
She wished that John had chosen to talk to her rather than seduce her. And she wished that she had been honest with him about how her feelings towards Jack had changed. John had tried to subtly question her intentions with Jack and she had evaded, not wanting to come right out and confront her feelings for John. Well, lessons learned. It was time to pick herself up, dust herself off and move on.
"We're here, sweetheart." Wilf said, pulling into a parking spot near his building. "Let's go upstairs and I'll make us something to eat."
Rose stepped out of the car and helped Jenny and Wilf unload her luggage. "Thanks, Wilf, but I'm not very hungry," she said softly.
"Ma cheri." Jenny pulled her into a hug. "Then let us drown your sorrows in wine rather than food."
They turned to move down the street; Jenny kept an arm around Rose's waist. "I think, for tonight, I'd just like to sleep. And tomorrow you get to set the agenda."
"I think I can handle that," Jenny laughed.
Ahead of them a figure stepped out of the shadows and Rose momentarily tensed, expecting some thug to try and mug them. Then she recognized the brown pinstripe suit and the spiky hair. "What are you doing here?" Her voice conveyed every bit of the shock that she felt. Untangling herself from Jenny, she took a step towards him. "You should be in London."
John shoved his hands into his pockets and rocked back onto his heels. "There was someone that was more important than the merger and I sent her to Paris. So I made the time to come after her."
Rose felt a flicker of hope ignite in her chest. Turning her head, she addressed Wilf and Jenny over her shoulder. "Can you give us a minute?"
"I think he'll be wanting a little more than a minute, judging by the way he's looking at you." Jenny wiggled her eyebrows.
"Stop it," Wilf said, lightly smacking her arm. "Let's give these two some space." Jenny reluctantly nodded and together she and her grandfather took Rose's bags inside.
Once they were alone, Rose took a deep breath and resisted the urge to throw herself into his arms. There were things that needed to be said before they could move forward and she needed them both to be perfectly clear on what they wanted. "You pushed me away and tried to buy me off. What do you have to say for yourself?"
"I made a mistake, a huge mistake." John took a step towards her. "I thought that you were hung up on Jack, but I should have known that you wouldn't have been so open with me and still pining for him. I shouldn't have sent you away. I should have run away with you. My life would be empty without you. After you left last night, I realized that nothing mattered to me as much as you. These last few days we've spent together, they've meant more to me than you know."
He tugged on his ear. "I was going to call off the merger and send Jack after you. Just to make you happy. Jack made it perfectly clear what he thought of that plan." His hand rose to the purple bruise on his jaw. She hadn't noticed it before now. "I think Donna took a video of it. If you want to see it, I'm sure everyone at the Estate has a copy. Or she may have even put it on YouTube." John shuddered and Rose had to stifle a small laugh. There were important things to discuss.
"You thought I still wanted Jack?" Rose asked, wanting confirmation of what she had suspected.
He gave a very slight nod. "I'm sorry."
"Me too," Rose agreed. "If I would have just said..."
He placed a finger gently on her lips to silence her. "It's not your fault. I should have never been so cruel, to anyone, least of all you." His hand shifted to cup her cheek. "Rose Tyler, you must know that I love you. I've loved you for years but I was too stupid to realize it."
A single tear ran down her face and he wiped it away with his thumb. "I love you, too." Her voice was barely above a whisper. She was certain he heard her though because she felt the tension leave his body. In one swift move, he enveloped her in his embrace and his lips dipped to meet hers. Heat radiated through her entire body and she sunk into the kiss. And this time when he parted her lips with his tongue, she welcomed it and met it with her own. For several minutes they enjoyed the soft exploration of the each other's mouths until Rose pulled back, needing to breathe.
John rested his forehead against hers. "I think I could make time to do that several times a day," he said in a deep sultry voice. "Because kissing Rose Tyler has just become my top priority."
"Just kissing?" she teased.
He pressed his mouth quickly against hers again. "I could think of a few others that might be making their way up to the top of my list. Care to find out what they are?"
"I can't wait," Rose said before capturing his lips again.
Six months later, Rose was standing in front a blank canvas on a remote island somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. She bit her lip as she tried to figure out the best angle to paint the waterfall that cascaded down into a deep, clear blue pool surrounded by lush green tropical plants. John always took her to the most amazing places. Together they had been all over Europe and to a few parts of Africa. They had plans to see North and South America and Asia over the next six months. Of course, they had gone back to London for Jack and Christina's wedding and had stayed to meet Donna and Lee's new daughter, Anna Beth. But other than that they hardly stood still.
Rose had been hit with waves of inspiration for her paintings and Jenny had organized her first one woman show. It was next month, in Paris naturally. There were even a couple of paintings of the night skies in the collection. She and John usually stayed up late to gaze at the stars, among other things. Lots of other extremely pleasurable things.
When she had found the right spot for her easel, she stepped back to open her art supplies. A second later, a hard, laughing body crashed into her and scooped her into his arms. "John," Rose shrieked. "Put me down this instant."
"Are you sure about that?" John smirked and she squirmed to get out of his hold. His fingers lightly tickled her sides making her giggle and squirm harder.
"Yes! Put me down this instant." She barely got the words out through her laughter.
"Your wish is my command," he declared before tossing her into the warm water.
Her head bobbed back above the water and she spluttered to get the water out of her mouth. "Oh, you are so dead when I get my hands on you."
Looking down at her, he chuckled. "Really? I figured you'd be doing other things once you got those hands on me."
Pushing her hands through the water, she splashed him. "Get in here and find out if you're so sure of yourself.
"Alright then." He took a few steps back and ran at the water. "Allons-y," he cried before he executed his miserable excuse for a cannon ball. It ended up being closer to a belly flop.
Rose swam over the center of the ripples and waited until his head cleared the water before she pushed him back under. This went on for several minutes, the two of them dunking or splashing each other, both laughing until they couldn't breathe.
He dragged her to a shallow part of the water and hugged her close to him. "I love you, Rose Tyler."
"And I love you, John Harkness." She kissed him briefly.
"This," he said, gesturing around them, "is not a bad life."
"Yeah," she agreed. "But it's better with two."
"Quite right." He smiled and leaned in for another kiss. But Rose was ready to strike. She pushed him under again and swam off before he bobbed to the surface again. This really was the best way to live.