Hello there! I've returned from my long un-announced vacation. So, I haven't written anything in a while, and what do ya know, I kinda missed it. I have also fallen head over heels in love with Doctor Who, and this idea wouldn't leave me alone. As a result, this happened. It's my first Who fic, and I'm American, so if anyone is out of character, or if any of the slang or words are wrong, please let me know so I can fix it! I'd really appreciate it! Other than that, enjoy!

"He loves you, y' know."

Rose Tyler nods distractedly, eyes still fixed on the door where the Doctor was hovering awkwardly just seconds ago. He's disappeared now, finally having been able to make his escape from Jackie Tyler and her place of residence. Rose assumes he's gone back to the TARDIS to attempt fixing (and as a result making worse) something or other that probably would've been better off having been left alone. She supposes she can't complain though. There was a time when he wouldn't even enter the flat with her, much less exchange formalities the woman she's pretty sure frightens him more than a Dalek, even though he would never in his entire incredibly long lifespan admit it.

Suddenly it registers with Rose exactly what words have just left her mother's mouth, and she snaps back to attention to see that Jackie is staring at her pointedly, waiting for a response.

"Know...wha'? Love? Who?" she stutters, reduced to one-word sentences because as accustomed to Jackie's incredible bluntness as she may be, she certainly wasn't expecting this.

"Your idiot of a Doctor, tha's who! Who d' you bloody well think?"

"Mum!" Rose manages to choke out. "I told you, me an' the Doctor, we're not like that!" She knows for a fact that her mother isn't even close to believing that her relationship with the alien in question is strictly platonic, but was not expecting to hear anything about love.

"I never said y' where, did I?" Jackie deadpans. "Now 'm not sayin' you two are shagging in one of the back rooms in the TARDIS-"

Rose flushes bright red at the idea, and Jackie narrows her eyes a bit.

"-but I can plain as day see that he loves you, and frankly 'm a bit surprised you can't see it too, considerin' you an' 'im are basically the same person when you're around each other. But you seem t' be completely blind, an' he's absolutely rubbish at hiding it!"

Rose feels strangely like she's 14 again, being forced to sit at the very same table and listen while Jackie imparts her words of wisdom before Rose's very first date. But this is at the same time very different from any conversation she's ever had with her mother before.

Love. Could it be possible? Could the Doctor love her? No, she thinks. No, she's just his traveling companion. Someone for him to show off to, someone to keep the loneliness at bay. His friend, sure. Of course. Maybe even his best friend. But him, love her? No way.

Yet Jackie's words have encouraged the tiny part of her brain where she holds and hides away all of the fervent hope she feels- hope that maybe what she feels for him isn't completely unrequited, that maybe she has a chance, that maybe this relationship means more to him than he lets on. She has to idea how to respond however, and in the ends only manages a simple,

"I dunno, mum." It sounds more defeated than she intend it to. But apparently Jackie's not finished with her yet.


"Well what?"

"D' you love him?" she asks, as conversationally as if she's asking Rose how many sugars she wants in her tea.

What seems like hundreds of possible responses fly through Rose's head. Should she deny it? Tell the truth? Downplay what she feels, make it seem like a simple crush? That seems like the best idea. But suddenly mid thought, she finds herself muttering,

"Yeah." She feels her face heat up. But there, it's over. She said it. She almost expects to feel a weight lifted from her shoulders, but she feels the same. She supposes she's already accepted it so fully that speaking one little confirming word doesn't really change anything. And it's not like she's actually said anything to him.

She can't say she's completely surprised that this is her mother's next point. "So, why don't you tell 'im?"

"I can't," she says in a tone that sounds almost childlike. "I just...I can't. There's too much that could go wrong. If I say somethin', an' I'm wrong, he could just leave me 'ere. Fly away in the TARDIS and leave me. I know he won't wanna keep me forever, but I can't go back to workin' in a shop. Not now. And even if he was nice enough to let me stay, it would be all awkward. He's my best friend mum. He-"

Jackie interrupts her nervous rambling. "Let 'im tell you first then."

Roses sighs. "Even if you are right about all this, he'd never tell me. He doesn't do the talkin' about feelings thing."

Jackie has a expression on her face that any other time Rose would call mischievous, but she's not exactly sure why her mum would be looking mischievous right now.

"For you, I think he'd make an exception. Besides, maybe he already 'as told you. Maybe you just haven't heard 'im."

Rose can't help but observe that this is strangely cryptic for the woman who usually says in no uncertain terms exactly what ever it is she's thinking.

"What d'you-"

"Just listen Rose. Promise me you'll listen. Confessions of love aren't always loud an' confident, even with a usually loud an' confident man."

Rose has no idea what her mother is talking about, what exactly she wants her to do, but she can see how uncharacteristically serious she is, so she says solemnly,

"I promise."

From that day on, Rose listens. She's still not sure exactly what her mum thinks is going to happen, but she always keeps her promises, so she listens (as best as she can) to the Doctor's ramblings, his anecdotes, his quiet mutterings under his breath. Everything he says. (Though that doesn't mean she always does what he tells her, of course. She wouldn't be Rose Tyler if she actually stayed put where he told her to.) And despite herself, the hope she has tried so hard to quash begins to rise up. But she never hears anything unusual, and she grows frustrated. She's being stupid. She's been bloody stupid, and now she's going to hurt for it. She's about to give up when finally, finally one night she hears what she's been waiting for.

The Doctor has been careful. So, so careful. And he's tried hard and struggled valiantly to keep the words in but sometimes he just can't help saying them. I love you. IloveyouIloveyouIloveyou Rose Tyler. Never to her face though. Never. He doesn't dare to. She's his best friend, his partner in crime, his hand to hold, his light in the storm. And no matter how much he wants to add lover on to that list, he can't do it. Because he has no idea what she feels for him.

He's supposed to be clever, supposed to always be able to figure things out, but he can't figure her out, and sometimes it makes him feel bloody stupid. So he won't risk it. She might leave, and he doesn't think he could take it. Not now. He knows he can't have her forever, but they have time left, and he refuses to waste it. So he won't tell her.

He can't help saying it sometimes though, when he's sure she's not listening. She gleefully skips out the TARDIS doors, excited for their next adventure, and he waits a few seconds, whispering 'I love you' before following her out. She hands him a mug of tea in the console room and he whispers 'I love you' into the mug when he's sure she's left the room. It isn't just in this regeneration either. It was less frequent, back when he was all leather and big ears, but it still happened. He's not sure if it's this one's giant gob or simply that his love for her has, if possible, grown even stronger that makes the words come out so much more often now, but it's happening every day lately, and he doesn't want to stop.

At some point he realizes he's growing sloppy. He's not being careful enough anymore, and there are a few times when the words have come out without him even thinking, and he's certain that she's heard him and is ready to pack her bags. He gets lucky though. The words have continued to escape her notice. He knows that his luck will run out eventually. She's clever and observant, she's bound to catch on. But there's a part of him that doesn't care anymore. That wants her to hear. Of course, the logical part of him is quick to beat that part down.

Everything leads up to one night. One night, when he's lost her again, only to have her once again returned to him. Her face has been stolen, and returned to her. Her beautiful face. It was all his fault, he doesn't deserve the hug he receives when it's all been said and done, but he accepts it and revels in it, because he needs it. He needs her.

He puts on his usual cheerful front, but refuses to let her out of his sight for the rest of the day. That is, until she yawns and states that she's heading to bed. He follows her all the way to her room, trailing behind her like a lost puppy. When they reach her door, he grips her hand, not wanting to let go, but she kisses his cheek and then retreats into her room. He watches her as she lets her hair down and kicks off her shoes, and then climbs into bed with her clothes and makeup still on, apparently too exhausted to care. She rolls to face away from him, and he begins to shut her door.

He means to wait, he really does, but the words 'I love you' burst from his lips before the door is completely closed. He barely spoke louder than a whisper, but he still freezes and slowly turns his head towards her. She hasn't moved, doesn't appear to have heard him, and he sighs in relief, ignoring that little part of him that deflates a bit.

He shuts the door the rest of the way and steps back, and then just stands there, not really wanting to move. And suddenly, the door flies open again, nearly hitting him in the nose, and he is met with hazel eyes and slightly rumpled blonde hair.

"I was listening," she says, eyes never leaving his. The words are quiet, but they seems to carry all the weight in the world. "I was listening."

He doesn't know what to do, for once doesn't know what to say. Is she upset? She doesn't seem upset.

Suddenly, her lips are covering his, and his brain spins to process what's happening. Then he realizes he's kissing her back, and decides he doesn't care.

She breaks the kiss, and he's about to protest until she leans up to whisper into his ear what he's suddenly convinced are the most important words to ever leave anyone's mouth in the whole of time and space-

"I love you too, Doctor. I love you too."

Several says later, they're at the Tyler flat again, but this time, the Doctor is sitting at the table with the two women, having scooted his chair right next to Rose's and is sitting as close to the edge of it as he can possibly get without actually being on her chair. She doesn't mind, of course. Their hands are entwined and he's playing with her fingers under the table.

Finally Rose asks her mother the one question that's been tugging at her mind for days.

"But 'ow did you know?"

Jackie smiles smugly.

"I heard 'im. Several times actually. Most recently when you fell asleep on the sofa and he was tuckin' you in."

The Doctor gives a sheepish smile. He may have tried his best to be careful around Rose, but he had forgotten to be careful around her mother. (Right now though, he couldn't be more glad.)

He says solemnly, "Thank you, Jackie," and he's never been more sincere. To his surprise, she smiles warmly at him.

"Tha's alright. Just promise me you'll be good to her, yeah?"

"I promise," he says, giving Jackie a small smile in return.

And when it comes to Rose Tyler, he always keeps his promises.