New story, yay! This is just a little prologue thingy, to cover the interregnum. This story starts six months after Voyage of the Damned-because, as interesting as going through their psychological recovery might be, I think it would get tedious before too long. I still might eventually write some one shots to take place during that time, the moment, I'm just skipping ahead. I'll upload the first real chapter tonight or tomorrow, I promise.

OH OH ALSO...the COMPLETELY AWESOME cover for this story is designed by the glorious Erin, aka mistlewho on tumblr, who has an astonishing talent for graphics (who also is probably bored with me constantly fangirling over said talent).

Kay, Merry Christmas Eve!

It was six months before the Doctor and Rose returned to Earth. There were plenty of other planets to visit that didn't have so many ghosts or painful reminders. So they ran across the universe, trying to return to each other and recover from their separate ordeals.

That had been nearly as painful as the initial trauma at first. For months, they were waking up gasping from nightmares every time they fell asleep, trying desperately to get a handle on the grief and anger that would rise up again and threaten to tear them apart. Then there were the times when they couldn't quite manage to keep a situation they'd landed in from spiraling out of control, landing one or both of them in nasty situations, leaving them both terrified and screaming at each other to keep from sobbing. Then there were the times where the tears couldn't be stopped; Rose especially had been prone to bouts of depression and hopelessness, a side-effect of the long-endured psychological torture, leaving her shattered and sobbing in his arms. The Doctor, instead, had fallen back on old habits of simply shutting down and shutting out everything to cover how shaky and exposed he felt after having all his vulnerabilities used against him, leaving Rose to battle her way back to him, to remind him that he didn't have to be alone to be safe, and he didn't always have to be alright.

But in between battles, there had been them. Just them. And all the smiles, the jokes, the little touches and long kisses that had been the things they'd missed the most during their long separation. There were rare moments, cuddling together to watch a film, or laying in the dark of their bedroom before the nightmares hit, that it didn't hurt. And in those moments they could believe that they'd be alright. And, as time wore on, the nightmares slowly became less frequent, the fights less volatile, the moments of panic less debilitating, and those happy moments become longer and more common.

It still hurt…it would for a long time. A wound healed still leaves a scar that aches, a reminder of the past. But the Doctor and Rose Tyler were always stronger than the traces of damage. After six months, they were recognizable again. They might have looked a little older, there might be an extra shadow that would pass over their eyes ever so often, but in all the ways that mattered, they were themselves again.

And it was a good thing, too…because it was just in time to meet an old friend, and start an adventure neither one could have expected.