A/N: At long last! You'll all be happy to know that I am finally back in the land of real internet connection. Thank you so much for your patience and support. This is the chapter you've all been waiting for - only one more after this and an epilogue!

As It Must Be

Chapter 10

When she opened the door, she was greeted with a mental wave of warmth from the TARDIS that made her vision black out for a moment, she was so overwhelmed with the input from her newest senses. My Wolf!

She lost herself for a long moment in the TARDIS's joy, sharing her memories, understanding the TARDIS's pain at not being able to tell her Thief the truth all those years, how incredible it was to see her again, how happy she was to bond with her fully now, how happy they were all going to be …

The dialogue had faded into something like a gleeful mental hug, postponing more detailed communication of their times apart for later.

And then a broken, hoarse voice tore her completely from her reverie with the TARDIS. "Rose!" She felt her lips turning up in a huge grin almost involuntarily. It was just SO good to hear that voice again.

Even with him across the console room, she could feel their bond lighting up in a way that fit more than it ever had before. She blinked open her eyes and found herself leaning back against the door.

That wouldn't do at all. She ran forward to where the Doctor had already made it around the console and before she could even register how impossibly good it was to see him again, they were hugging. She closed her eyes, better to absorb the other sensations which were inundating her.

The purely physical senses would have been enough to overwhelm her by themselves normally. His body was so solid against hers, pressed as tight as they could get and her face was buried in his neck. She was on tip-toe so that their chests would press together and her hands wrapped around his back and squeezed. He was so wiry, but so strong at the same time. And his suit jacket felt so perfectly familiar against her hands that she wanted to cry.

Then there was his smell. That same familiar scent that had been on the two other Doctor's she'd just been with, dark and timey, but it was mixed with something that was just this particular Doctor which smelled sweet like cotton candy only a little spicy as well. And she was getting a direct infusion of all of it with her face so close to his hair and the join of his neck.

He was murmuring her name into her ear. "Oh Rose, Rose, Rose …" As though he needed to keep saying it to believe she was actually there. And that voice, in what was so close to her accent, expressive and dramatic and ever so him.

But all of these senses were rather utterly and completely erased by just how intensely she was caught up in her mind. Because he was glowing so sharply that she was almost afraid to approach him again and reconnect their bond. Except that she wanted to so badly that it was a necessity.

She slid up to his mind almost shyly, pressing forward just a little. He gasped at the sensation and pulled away from her physically, which made her open her eyes and frown at him.

The TARDIS whispered into the back of her mind, He doesn't have his memories back yet. So he doesn't completely know. And he's never done this before that he can remember.

She lost herself for a long moment in pure visual pleasure at seeing him again, those flawless whiskey eyes and the hair she'd wanted to stroke and pull for an eternity. And then registered the emotions in his eyes: a lot of hope, a lot of adoration, and a little bit of panic.

"Rose, do you know what you're doing there? I mean, oh goodness, I don't know that I can resist …" He ran a frantic hand through his hair, but then ripped it away to return to touching her, if only her elbows.

She smiled at him. "Doctor, how many times do I have to say it? I'm never gonna leave you. And I mean that." Her words were full of a triumphant joy that rocked him back with the sheer force of it.

"Now just tell me you want this, Doctor." He looked almost torn, and she cursed his self-control, his need to be alone and not involve himself. She began to wonder if she should get him to find his memories again before they could …

But then he sucked in a pained breath and grinned at her hugely. "I've never wanted anything more in nine hundred years, Rose Tyler."

She didn't wait for any more hesitations, but pressed forward into his mind. And oh, if she'd thought that they fit together before, it was nothing compared to this. She was stunned with the utter certainty that this was were she was meant to be for the rest of forever. And this was just the beginning.

As they slid together mentally, it was thoughtless to slide together physically as well, clinging to one another as tightly as possible. The suit jacket she'd enjoyed against her fingers before was now keeping her too far away from him.

She slid her hands under his jacket with a noise of protest at meeting shirt and feeling a vest beneath it, almost sobbing at how much further she had to go before they would be skin on skin.

But then he was pulling her just barely far enough away and their mouths were crashing onto one another, so she didn't have the time to worry about all the layers for long.

It was so good that she almost sobbed with it. They were both frantic, pressing as close as they could get, lips crushed against teeth and tongues tangling like they had wanted to for oh so long. It took a long moment of frantic crushing of mouths before either could back off enough to gentle the kiss a little.

It was still frantic and heated, but they were both assured of one another for the moment, ready to ease off so that they could slide deeper into each others mouths, tongues stroking deep, mimicking the intimacy of their minds. They parted for just a moment to breathe and then were kissing again, lips playing against each other, her lower lip trapped in his teeth and his tongue sucked hard into her mouth.

She was making a desperate whimpering noise and clawing at the bottom of his shirt. His hands were locked on her back as though he was afraid to move them for fear she'd disappear. Finally, finally his shirt gave and she was tearing it off of him, no patience for things like buttons. It was only her near strangling him by yanking at his tie that finally made him release her to yank at it himself.

Removing his shirt and tie made him realize that he could be taking off her layers as well, which he set to as soon as their mouths met again with a groan from both of them.

His hands slipped under her shirt and he made a high pitched, whimpering noise that Rose would have laughed at if she was anywhere near her right mind. So soft … his mind echoed in hers. She wondered, in a distant part of her mind, whether he even realized she could hear him.

But then she was distracted by peeling off his vest to get her hands on his bare chest. He was so perfect that she could hardly breathe for it and she mindlessly pressed herself against him, reaching for his mouth and noticing happily that her shirt had disappeared somewhere in the mean time.

At some point they'd stumbled back towards one of the arching struts of the TARDIS. Rose's back pressed up against the coral roughly, but she hardly noticed because she was far too caught up with kissing and biting at every bit of his neck she could reach. He was taking advantage of his mouth's freedom to mutter curses and dirty words and her name in a string of incoherent syllables she wasn't listening to.

Then his hands were busying themselves with the clasp of her bra, fumbling behind her and releasing his grasp every time she swirled her tongue around a particularly sensitive spot. He gasped with triumph when he finally got it unhooked and then was tearing it off of her, hands reaching up simultaneously to cup her breasts.

Her nipples had pebbled long ago and were pressing hard into his palms, making her keen out and drop her head away from his neck with distraction. He went incoherent at the sight, letting out wordless groans and gasps only and moving his fingers to brush over her nipples almost too lightly. Then he was twisting them sharply, gentleness dissolved in a haze of pure desire. She was sure she made some highly approving noise at this, but she couldn't have said what it was.

Her shorts and knickers were shoved down suddenly, the Doctor breaking at the noises she was making. In her head, she could hear him chanting her name along with a breathtaking rush of adoration and lust and love. She returned the favor by reaching for the clasp of his trousers, fingers stumbling to undo it and giving up when his mouth reached down for hers again. His hands replaced hers on the fly and then she was grasping his rock hard cock instead of just his trousers.

They both made loud noises at this connection and Rose could feel herself dripping over her thighs.

"Doctor, please, please, please." He didn't need the encouragement. He lifted her into the perfect position against the TARDIS, held her there with his body, and then thrust into her body and her mind as he dropped his head to bite just exactly there where he had when he'd worn a leather jacket.

She was sure she screamed and she may have blacked out for a moment, the sensations were so blindingly extreme. It was more intense than anything she'd ever experienced. She was floating and falling and bursting into tingling, gold, sensation. And then she came to again and he was thrusting into her, filling her mind and her body and it was so perfect, so full and complete and she loved him so very much.

These thoughts reverberated through the bond and she felt his awe, along with just how intensely he felt the same. There was a deep moment when they stilled and were simply rocked with one another's emotion.

And then their bodies cried out for one another and she reached up to his mouth again to mate their lips and tongues. One of his hands reached from holding her pinned to play at where he was thrusting into her, marveling at their connection and teasing her clit until she was a writhing mass of need and pleasure again.

"Doctor, I'm so close, God, Doctor you feel so good, this is so so so good."

Show me how it feels Rose. Show me and then scream for me again. His mental tone was full of dark lust and she could do nothing but obey, gathering up as much of her pleasure as she could in her mindless state and shoving it towards him. He let out an inhuman growling sound and thrust hard into her, dancing right on the edge of too much.

And then he reciprocated and thrust his pleasure into her mind on his next thrust into her body. She was overwhelmed and screamed for him again, body clenching around him, pulling him into her with everything she had. And he gave in to her demand for everything, cock jerking as he exploded into her, their shared minds going white with pure sensation and pleasure.

Rose didn't register much for a long time. Somehow they made it gently to the floor and detached their bodies enough to let them curl up around one another. The TARDIS must have intervened because the grated floor was much softer than it ought to have been.

They might have slept, or they might have simply lain there basking in the pleasure of their shared minds, each others bodies, their mere presence together. She knew that at some point they both had gotten completely undressed, tugging scraps of clothing still clinging to them off and to the sides so that they could curl up against one another completely.

Slowly, lazily, their minds disentangled enough to think coherently and separately. The first real indication of this was the Doctor whispering into her hair, "Hello."

She grinned into his chest. "Hello."

He let out a tiny sound that was a little like a sob. "Do you have any idea how much I've missed you?"

She nodded, knowing he could feel the movement of her head where it was pillowed him. "I've missed you just as much."

They reveled in this for a long moment before the Doctor's curiosity got the better of him. "Rose, where you've been … the bond, I mean … I don't remember!"

Rose turned a little so she could look at his face and wondered why she hadn't been admiring that view all along. "You said you were going to hide the memories from yourself, but they should still be there if you look."

"Right," he nodded, "But when I do that it might take a little to integrate the memories and I want to sort some things out first."

He took a deep breath. "This, er, bond, you know what it is? I didn't, oh Rose … force it on you or anything?" He sounded terrified and Rose wondered if the real reason he was delaying access to the memories was that he was afraid what they might contain.

"No, Doctor! You already explained the bond and you certainly didn't force it. Well, I mean …" she blushed and became aware of the bite mark on her neck again. "You didn't force it more than I wanted."

He made an extremely noncommittal noise, so Rose went up on her elbows to look him in the eye. "Doctor, don't do this to us. I've always said that I wanted to spend forever with you. And I've always …" she flushed and then carried on bravely, "I've always wanted more romantically from you. Honestly, it's you I'm worried were forced! I got you at a weak moment and I didn't want to take advantage, but I might have accidentally? I know you didn't want this."

This time the Doctor was the one to roll to his side to meet her eyes. "Hang on, definitely not! Sure, I wouldn't have done this, but that's just because I didn't think it was even possible! And I wouldn't want to take advantage of a companion like that when you're so young and relying on me to take you home."

His eyes blazed fiercely. "But there is absolutely nothing I want more than this bond Rose Tyler. I never hoped to imagine that the universe could be so kind to me."

She took a deep breath and then grinned at him. "Well then, that's just … fantastic! We have all of time and space at our feet and I have it on good authority that I have considerably longer than expected to treasure it!"

He had slumped back to the ground in a kind of happy exhaustion, but shot back up a little at this. He looked hesitant, but was holding back a fierce happiness. "What does that mean, longer than expected?"

"Ah." Rose frowned. It was going to be difficult to keep this from him.

Suddenly she heard a musical, chiming laugh in her head and she felt the TARDIS seep into her recent thoughts. She set the thoughts of her visit with the future behind a thin veil which made them fuzzy to Rose and, she theorized, incomprehensible to the Doctor. Perfect! Thank you old girl. She received the mental equivalent of a tight hug in her head.

The Doctor was looking increasingly concerned at her lack of response, so she lied quickly. "The TARDIS has been showing me some interesting things about my DNA. It changed with the Bad Wolf you know, that's what made the telepathy with the TARDIS and the bond possible at all. And I guess the bond accelerated it."

The TARDIS interrupted her. You should do some scans. You may have given yourselves a present. The ship's voice was merry and knowing.

Rose looked up with alarm, remembering suddenly and with a wave of panic that they had been continuing to not use any kind of birth control despite her newly discovered fertility. She heard the ship chuckle into just her head, Not that kind of present dear, just your new life expectancy and compatibility. Let him see for himself or he'll never believe it.

This was said with a warm fondness, like a mother for a difficult toddler, and Rose almost laughed at the image.

"Right!" the Doctor said, eyes bright at the possibility of a surprise. "Off to the medbay then, up you get!" He bounced to his feet, still naked and searching about for his clothes with confusion. How exactly had his tie ended up draped over that strut on the ceiling? And how was he going to get it down? Well, problems for later.

Rose moved more slowly, suddenly shy with the nudity. They hadn't talked at all, unsurprisingly, and though they had experienced a much more intimate kind of communication, she still wasn't sure what he really wanted from this whole situation.

They were rather unique after all. After years of sexual tension and thinking that it was never ever going to happen, she'd gotten together with his former self and then seen the future to know that they were going to work out in a very dramatic and domestic way. But the in between steps were still unknown and the two of them had never talked about anything like this.

And now they had sex against a wall and emotional intimacy beyond anything she'd ever imagined and, apparently, casual nudity as they put their clothes on. They needed to talk this all out.

Characteristically, the Doctor did not seem similarly inclined to a conversation about their changed relationship status. Instead, after both of them had pulled their clothes back on, he ushered her to the medbay, eager to investigate.

Rose was not quite as fascinated, especially since she already knew the results. But she was rather interested to see his reaction. He did want her forever, didn't he? She knew she was overjoyed about this news, knew that her first Doctor would have strained muscles from smiling too hard, but this Doctor had been all about restraint when it came to her, pushing her away from slipping too close to him.

That may have been because of her limited lifespan though. So he had to be excited about this, right?

She hopped up on the medbay bed, a familiar location, and wondered if he would mind if she took a nap while he did this. Bonding with the TARDIS had been more than a little exhausting. And besides that, she hadn't slept more than a couple hours in … a long time.

In fact, thinking on that, she wondered if it may have been a part of this whole adaptation thing. She'd been feeling that before bonding with the TARDIS, so maybe initiating the bond with the Doctor had started some of the changes in her. How many more changes were there going to be?

The thought was a little frightening, but never let it be said that Rose fled things which were new and exciting.

The Doctor was making odd humming noises and she couldn't decide if they were excited or concerned. She reached out to the bond tentatively, still not sure whether this was a breach of some kind of Time Lord etiquette since they hadn't talked about it and her first Doctor claimed it was basically a marriage bond. But she wanted to know what the test results said.

His emotions were too conflicted to get a good read on though, so she sighed and just asked. "Doctor, what're you finding?"

He spun a screen around to her, focusing on her suddenly and intensely. "D'you see this?" He gestured to a complex, spinning figure that looked something like a braid. She nodded hesitantly. "That's your DNA right now. And this, this is your DNA from a couple weeks ago when you sprained your ankle, remember?"

She looked at the screen again and saw a twisted double strand which looked much like pictures from her rudimentary science classes. "It's a lot different," she confirmed.

He looked a little frantic. "And this, this Rose, is my DNA. Well, TNA." He swung the screen to her again and she saw another braided strand.

"It looks like mine now." He nodded. "Well, what exactly does that mean for me? I mean, I feel, well, pretty much the same as always."

He shook his head, staring at the screen after having flipped back to her new genetic material. "I don't know, that's what's throwing me. I'd have to sequence the genome and that'll take me a bit."

"Doctor," she said, trying to make him focus on her again, "At a rough guess."

He ran a distracted hand through his hair, which would have made her laugh at just how chaotic it had gotten if she wasn't more focused on this news. "Well, you'd probably get a lot more of the qualities of a gallifreyan. Telepathy obviously. Time sense maybe. Longevity. And, er, we're compatible now. Genetically I mean."

She grinned at this. It reminded her that as concerned as the Doctor was and as worried as she was about the details, it was all going to turn out just fantastic in the end. So really, it would be best for both of them to just get their minds off of this nonsense for a bit.

"But you think I'm fine," she asked, determinedly.

"Welllll, yes, I suppose so. You've been dealing fine so far at least and if the TARDIS says its okay … well, it's a little bit stupendous, isn't it?" He had gotten that infectious grin back and finally Rose was relaxing back into normalcy with this version of her Doctor. Thank god!

"If I'm gonna be fine, then maybe this is a good time for you to get those memories back, huh, Doctor? And then maybe we could talk about this whole thing." She waved a hand between them and was rather impressed with herself for pressing the issue.

The Doctor still looked apprehensive, but with a deep sigh, he seemed to realize that he couldn't keep running away from what he'd done. "Right then. Here goes nothing then, I guess. Allons-y."

His gaze blanked out and Rose figured he turned inward to get those memories. She tapped her foot nervously. It was the same man! There was nothing to be nervous about. He'd certainly wanted it then. He'd wanted it earlier today in fact! Not an hour ago!

And if he decided that he didn't want it in this regeneration, well, she'd been dealing with that. She could probably go back.

A wordless part of her strongly protested that assertion. But the point was that the worst case scenario was something she could deal with.

And then he blinked his eyes and she realized she'd been holding her breath and she might not be quite as prepared to cope with this as she'd been telling herself. "Doctor?" She asked, tentatively.

"Oh, Rose," His words were breathy and heartfelt and he moved towards her suddenly to gather her into his arms.

"Rose I can't believe I lived without you for so long," he muttered into her ear, voice gasping a little. "I don't think I could have if it weren't for the TARDIS blocking some of the bond."

"So you, er, remember everything?" she asked hesitantly and then sucked in a very quick breath as she felt his tongue tracing down the side of her neck.

"Mm-hm," he breathed out, breath against wet skin making her whole body shiver involuntarily. Her nipples had peaked against her shirt again.

"I wanted to, uh, to tell you that I'm sorry." It was hard to get words out against the distraction of his lips, but there were important things that she needed to say, she was sure.

He pulled away from her to meet her eyes in confusion. "Sorry for what?"

"Well, I kind of took advantage of you a little. I mean, you didn't know who I was, but I knew exactly who you were and what our relationship was and you might have assumed something that wasn't true what with the mental bond I guess we had and I knew you were in a really bad place and …"

Her babble was cut off abruptly by a pair of rather flawless lips pressed firmly against her own. She marveled for a moment at how the Doctor's constant flow of words had rubbed off on her. And then thoughts were driven out of her mind by just how pliant and warm he was against her, and now sliding over her lips and pulling her bottom lip between his to part her lips gently.

Before she could push him into deepening the kiss, he pulled back. "Rose, don't be ridiculous. If anything, I took advantage of you. I hardly asked for permission." He grimaced, his guilty look familiar on his face.

She shook her head firmly. "No, I told you then and I tell you now, I've always known how much the Time War hurt you and I've wanted to protect you from it for just as long. And if I got to then, I'm overjoyed about it."

He pulled back a little more and looked concerned. "But, Rose …"

She continued, anticipating his complaints. "And besides, like I told you then. I've, er, always wanted to."

She flushed a deep red, but was glad she'd gotten it out. "Which is why I feel bad! Because I know that it's not something you ever wanted for us!" And now it was out there. Rose felt a surge of relief for finally saying it to this version of her Doctor.

There were several seconds of silence before Rose got up the nerve to meet his eyes again.

She was not expecting the look in his eyes. Something awkward and uncomfortable, that's what she had thought she would see. Him floundering for words which would make the situation less awkward and maintain their friendship in the face of her romance with his former self. Or else, if she was being hopeful, some sort of denial of what she'd said, gearing up to convince her not to blame herself.

Instead his eyes were blazing with heat, pupils dilated and expression fierce.

She let out an involuntary gasp, heat flaring through her immediately. She reached hesitantly along the bond and his arousal made the heat focused, flaming to her core. Her knees felt weak and trembled and she rocked towards him a little.

"Didn't want it for us?" He stepped towards her, "Oh Rose, you are so wrong."