A/N: Big thank you to foxmoon for the excellent beta. :) This is part one of the Heartbeats series.
The first time Rose saw the Doctor in Pete's World was about a year after he'd vanished before her eyesat Bad Wolf Bay. One day after an extremely long morning of working on the dimension cannon, Rose had left the Torchwood building during her lunch break to get some fresh air. She walked down the paved path of the park until she got to her favorite bench, the one beside the duck pond. She sat down and began to eat her lunch, occasionally tossing extra pieces of bread to the gathering ducks.
"Is this seat taken?" a voice said beside her.
Rose looked up to see a thin, gangly man with floppy hair and piercing green eyes beside her. He was quite handsome, even if he was dressed like a maths professor. He looked as though he were in his late twenties.
"Not at all, mate," she said with a smile and gestured to the empty space next to her. "Please."
The man sat down beside her and looked up into the sky, watching the zeppelins. "Beautiful day, isn't it?" he said, conversationally.
"Mmm," she agreed, closing her eyes and enjoying the warmth of the sun on her face. "Gorgeous day. I'm Rose, by the way."
She waited for him to give her his name, but he sat silent. For a second she wondered if he'd gone, but she opened her eyes to find him looking at her. She was taken aback by the raw emotion in his eyes. She immediately knew he was much older than he looked. His eyes betrayed his true age. Only one person had eyes like that.
"Rose Tyler," he said with a weak smile. The way her name held such weight when he said it, there was no longer a doubt in her mind. This man was the Doctor.
Rose reached out to cup his rather prominent jawline and he closed his eyes as she trailed her thumb over his cheekbone. "You've regenerated," she said.
"New new new Doctor," he said quietly as Rose's fingers moved from his face to run through his hair.
"Still not ginger, though. Better luck next time," she said playfully.
The Doctor gathered her in his arms, pulling her into a crushing hug. "Oh, I've missed you," he whispered into her hair.
"Missed you more," she replied, as she returned his hug. She pressed her nose to the lapel of his jacket and inhaled deeply. Despite having a new body, he still smelled like her Doctor.
"I very much doubt that."
Something felt wrong. Rose pulled back to meet his eyes once more. "Doctor, how long has it been for you? Since Bad Wolf Bay?"
The Doctor sighed deeply, taking her hands and resting his forehead against hers. "A very, very long time, Rose. Centuries."
Rose was quiet as she let that sink in. It had only been a year for her and while she still missed him terribly, the pain was nowhere near what it was when she was first separated from him. She tried to imagine what it would be like to live for hundreds of years without him and the mere thought brought tears to her eyes, and she quickly blinked them away. Whenever he was from, she's been dead for a very long time.
Finally she spoke, hoping her voice wouldn't crack. "How are you here? You said it was impossible."
His thumb caressed the back of her hand as he held it. "Things are… different where I come from. I can't really say much more than that."
"Are you here to take me back?"
"No, Rose. You have to find your own way back. And you will. But I can't take you."
Suddenly she felt a twinge of excitement. "I will? It's the dimension cannon, isn't it? We're going to figure out a way to make it work."
The Doctor chuckled. "I can't tell you anything else about your future, Rose. I shouldn't have even said that much."
That was it then. She and her team were going to finish building the dimension cannon. And somehow they would figure out a way to make it work. Someday, she'll find her way back to her proper Doctor. Rose felt invigorated, knowing she was moving in the right direction. She a grin tugging at the corners of her mouth but stopped herself.
"Doctor… not that I'm not happy to see you, because I am. Happy doesn't begin to cover it, really. But if you're not here to take me back, then why are you here?"
The Doctor looked out at the ducks on the pond. He was quiet for so long that Rose thought he wasn't going to answer when he finally spoke.
"I was travelling with some people. On and off for a long time. Well, long by human standards. But recently I… lost them. And I just needed…" he trailed off and looked back at her once more. This Doctor looked like he'd been through hell, and had lost so much. The last him had been better at hiding his pain from her. This him looked ragged. "I needed you, Rose. So I came back to a place in your timeline that wouldn't cause a paradox. I needed to see you. To touch you and hold you."
The Doctor was so close now, Rose felt herself begin to tremble.
"You always have me, Doctor," she said. She tilted her chin and as their lips met, she felt a tear roll down his cheek onto hers.
The kiss was gentle and chaste, but it was their first proper kiss. Well, at least for her. She had no idea if they'd kissed in his past. But this was her first proper kiss with him. No Bad Wolf, no Cassandra, no space helmet. Just the Doctor and Rose.
When it was over, their lips parted slowly. "Come with me," Rose whispered. The Doctor didn't speak, only nodded.
Rose's hands were shaking as she clumsily tried to unlock the door to her flat. Once they were inside, she tossed her keys and purse onto a large dining room table.
"So, this is where I live," she said, shrugging off her coat and kicking off her shoes.
He stood with his hands clasped in front of him and looked around. The place looked as though it was already furnished when she moved in, as the decoration style didn't really suit Rose at all. It was minimalist and impersonal, and it rather reminded him of an elegant hotel suite. The furniture was magazine cover pristine, and there were very few personal effects to indicate that Rose spent much time, let alone lived there.
"It's very nice. Torchwood is treating you well."
She shrugged. "Doesn't hurt to be an heiress as well. But I don't care about any of it."
Rose took a few steps forward until she was standing in front of him. She touched her hands to his chest, feeling the double heart beneath her palms before helping him slide the tweed jacket off.
"I like your bowtie," she said with a tongue-touched smile.
He grinned down at her. "Bow ties are cool."
"On you they are," she said as she tugged on it, untying it.
"Rose," he started in a stern voice.
"Doctor," she countered.
They stared at each other for a moment before he abruptly grabbed her face, crushing his lips to hers. His hands were gentle but his mouth was anything but. This kiss was nothing like the one they shared earlier in the park. This kiss was desperate and passionate, fueled by their love for one another and a mutual need and desire to escape from the real world.
Rose unfastened his braces as she pulled him towards her bedroom. The door was closed and the Doctor pressed her up against it, his hands smoothing over the curve of her bum. When he reached the top of her thigh he grabbed her leg, hooking it over his hip. He ground against her, eliciting a moan from her as she felt his erection pressing against her center.
Needing to breathe, Rose broke the kiss and began unbuttoning his shirt, pulling it out of his trousers and pushing it down his arms. The Doctor dipped his head, leaving a trail of open mouthed kisses along the line of her neck and Rose moaned softly, her head falling back against the door.
"Bed," he whispered, gently nipping at her earlobe. "Now."
"Yes, please," she breathed. The Doctor chuckled and lifted her, wrapping her other leg around his waist. Rose reached behind her and turned the knob on the door. He carried her to the bed, gently laying her down and crawling on top of her.
He stopped moving and took in the sight of her. Her lips were a bit plump from being thoroughly snogged. Her fair skin was flushed in a most gorgeous way that made him even more aroused. And her eyes shone with such love for him that it nearly broke his hearts.
"Hello," he said with a small smile.
Rose reached up to cup his face, pulling him down for another kiss. "Make love to me, Doctor."
His smile widened. "As my lady wishes," he said.
He removed her clothes slowly, reveling in each new area of naked skin. When all that was left was her bra, his hands were trembling and he fumbled with the clasp. "Bloody hell," he muttered and cursed in what Rose thought was probably Gallifreyan. It sounded a lot like something she'd heard the leather version of him say quite often.
Rose couldn't help but giggle. "Here, let me," she said gently and rolled them over so he was laying on his back. She pulled off his trousers and pants, then straddled his hips. She reached behind her and unfastened the bra with one hand, tossing it to the floor.
The Doctor stared the beautiful, naked woman on top of him. "You are beautiful, my Rose."
Rose smiled and leaned down to trail kisses along his jawline. "You will always be beautiful to me, Doctor. Whether your body is young or old, I will always want you. No matter what face you wear, I will always love you."
"Rose, please… I need…"
"Shhh, I know. Me too," she said. Her body had been ready for ages. She sat up and gently lowered herself down onto him.
The Doctor gripped her hips tightly, stifling a loud groan as he entered her. She was still for a moment, letting her body adjust to him, and then she began to move. His hands moved up to cup her breasts, kneading them gently before he decided he needed to taste them. He sat up, wrapping one arm around her as his mouth descended on her nipple.
Rose cried out as he lavished attention on her breasts. Somehow she'd always known he'd have a clever tongue. She looked forward to exploring that more later on.
Rose felt the pressure building and continued to ride him, struggling to get the friction she needed to push her over the edge. Suddenly, the Doctor rolled them over so that he was on top.
"Hold on to the headboard," he instructed. She did as he said and he hooked one of her legs up over his shoulder, kissing it as he pushed into her.
Rose cried out and gripped the headboard as he pounded into her. She felt the Doctor's hand slip between them and start rubbing her clit. She was so very close now.
"Rose… please," he said, his voice thick with desire, and he was rapidly losing what little control he had left. "Please come, love. I'm…"
That was all she needed. A few more strokes and she was keening beneath him, crying out his name. He moved her leg from his shoulder back around his waist and lowered himself on top of her. Burying his face in her neck, he began to thrust harder and faster, chasing his own release.
With a low moan he climaxed inside her and Rose felt herself come apart once more, finishing with him.
The Doctor carefully rolled off of her, laying beside her. Rose reached for a blanket and he wrapped them up in it. They lay facing one another, and the Doctor pulled her close.
"How long can you stay?" She asked, lazily tracing patterns on his chest between his hearts.
"I have to leave tomorrow."
"And how long is your refractory period?"
The Doctor scoffed at that. "Superior Time Lord biology, Rose. I don't have a refractory period."
"Good," she said, crawling on top of him to straddle him once more. She laid down on his chest and pressed her lips to his in a soft, teasing kiss. "Because if I only get one day with you in this body, then I want to make the most of it."
They made love all the rest of the day and well into the night, leaving the bedroom only to fulfill Rose's basic human needs, like hunger and the loo. She tried once for a shower, but he joined her, making yet another one of her fantasies a reality.
In their hours together, Rose really took the time to explore this body of his. She may never see it again, and she didn't want to forget a single detail about him. She wanted to remember his eyes as they bore into hers. The way his lips looked when they said her name, and how they felt on her skin. How his hair felt as she ran her fingers through it. The way his arms wrapped around her and how their hands still fit perfectly together, despite regeneration after regeneration. She wanted to remember it all.
She told him she loved him often, and although he never said it back, the Doctor made sure she knew he loved her with every touch, every kiss, and every caress.
When they weren't pleasuring each other in some way, they spent their time talking. He never said anything about her future, but instead told her about some of his adventures with Amy and Rory. Rose talked a bit about Torchwood and Pete's World, comparing it to their universe back home.
Sometime after midnight, Rose was completely exhausted and having trouble staying awake.
"You should get some sleep," the Doctor said, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "I've worn you out. How rude of me."
"Don't you dare. I loved every second of it. And I love you."
The Doctor kissed her forehead. "Sleep, Rose. I'll stay as long as I can."
As Rose drifted off, she heard the Doctor whisper one more thing in her ear.
"How long are you gonna stay with me?"
"Forever," she mumbled as she fell into slumber.
The next morning Rose awoke in bed alone. She knew there was a slim chance that he would still be there, but couldn't help feeling disappointed. On the pillow beside her was the Doctor's maroon bow tie, with a note written in elegant script.
"To remember me by. Thank you for a perfect day."
Beneath the letters was a circular character that she recognized as Gallifreyan. She wondered if it was the Doctor's name.
Rose picked up the bow tie and held it to her nose, inhaling deeply. It still smelled like him. She hoped that would never go away.
She tucked the bow tie and note into her jewelry box and mentally prepared herself for the day. She may never see this Doctor again, but her proper Doctor was waiting for her to find her way back to him.
She had a dimension cannon to build.