"It's like a Ghost town," Donna murmured as she and the Doctor exited the TARDIS, looking around in dismay at the empty street.
"Sarah Jane said they were taking the people," the Doctor said, frowning. "What for...?" He turned abruptly to face his companion. "Think, Donna, when you met Rose in that parallel world, what did she say?"
She shook her head slightly. "Just …the darkness is coming."
"Anything else?" he said urgently.
Donna opened her mouth to reply, then her eyes fell upon something over the Doctor's shoulder. She smiled slightly and looked back at the Doctor. "Why don't you ask her yourself?" she said softly.
The Doctor frowned at her, and then as he realized what she meant both his hearts stopped and he froze, hardly daring to hope. He turned around, his eyes wide with disbelief and filled with pain as he tried to suppress the happiness he so desperately wanted to feel.
And then there she was, at the other end of the street, walking towards the two of them slowly, and suddenly his vision tunneled and she was the only thing he could see, the only thing in the universe that existed.
She was carrying a gun around her neck, her blond hair blowing gently in the wind, the same and yet…so different. Older, more mature—and yet, as a gorgeous smile stretched across her face, he saw that she was still the same person, still his Rose, his beautiful, wonderful, impossible Rose.
Because impossible really was the word of the moment—it was impossible that she would be here, impossible that she would still feel the same way for him that she had a year ago. Impossible that right here, in the middle of a war with the Daleks, after so long, she would be standing so near.
Yet she was.
Before the Doctor even realized it he was running, and Rose was running to meet him, holding onto her gun, her eyes shining with happiness. As the Doctor ran faster towards her he let the same happiness swell in his chest, let the smile of disbelief and amazement stretch across his face.
She was so close now, he could see tears welling up in her eyes. She tossed her gun aside as they reached each other and he didn't hesitate a moment in pulling her into his arms into a bone-crushing hug. She sobbed as she threw her arms around him and hugged him back.
The Doctor's arms tightened and he lifted her, spinning her around. A laugh escaped her lips as she clung to him, and he found he was laughing too, breathing in her familiar scent, the scent that could only be described as Rose. He though after all this time he would have forgotten it, but everything about her was still so familiar.
He had never forgotten. Not for one moment.
It should not have been possible that she was here, safe in his arms again. It was against all the laws of space and time that he'd known for so long. But here she was, so incredibly close, finally his once again.
They broke apart after a long moment and just stared at each other. The Doctor exhaled in another laugh, smiling though his expression was still struck with disbelief. "Rose," he breathed.
She grinned, still the same woman he'd left behind a year ago. "That's me," she said. "I'm here. I'm back." Her smile became gentle as she touched his face. "I missed you."
The Doctor swallowed around a lump in his throat. "Long time no see, eh?"
She just smiled, tears glittering in her eyes and threatening to spill over.
"Rose, I—I mean, I—"
"Save it for later, yeah?" she interrupted, surprising him. Taking hold of his tie, she pulled his face down to hers.
It was the kiss they'd both been waiting for, starting out slow and careful and then suddenly more passionate, as their arms slipped around each other and they clung to each other as though these were their last few moments on Earth—then again, it could have been.
Though part of the Doctor knew it wasn't right, he was too desperate to feel her close again, to feel her warmth, and he kissed her back eagerly and relentlessly as the rest of the world seemed to disappear around them. Rose slid her fingers through his hair, something she'd always longed to do, both of them, for those few precious moments, simply relishing the fact that they were, somehow, some way, madly, impossibly, wonderfully together.
"Hey, you two!" a voice called, and they broke apart for a second time, returning to reality. Captain Jack stood nearby, a grin on his face. "Can you two wait until we've saved the world? I just had to shoot down a Dalek, you know, it could have killed one of you. Should probably be paying more attention, Doctor."
The Doctor glanced at Rose, his arm still around her waist. "…Right," he said. Rose choked back a laugh and bit down on her lower lip, trying to clear the dizziness in her head that had come from the closeness of the Doctor.
Jack beamed at Rose. "Good to see you again, Miss Tyler."
"Oh, Jack!" she leapt forward and threw herself into his arms. He grinned and spun her around as the Doctor had, then set her on her feet as Donna approached the three of them.
"So you're Rose Tyler," Donna said, smiling slightly at Rose, who returned the smile and nodded slightly.
"Thanks for watching over the Doctor while I was gone, Donna," she said.
"Oi!" the Doctor said indignantly. "She was not watching over me."
"Well, someone had to make sure you weren't going to getting yourself into trouble, didn't they?" Donna replied.
The Doctor rolled his eyes, clearly trying to think of a clever retort to this, and Rose grinned, pleased to see that he was, for once, speechless. "I don't get into trouble," he said, finally, "trouble just sometimes seems to…find me."
"More often than just sometimes, I should think," Donna said.
"Other things seem to find their way to you too, Doctor," Donna said, looking pointedly at Rose. The Doctor looked down at Rose, who smiled slightly in response. He felt his hearts swell at the sight of her face once again, and at that moment vowed that nothing—nothing—would get in the way of them being together again. Not even an army of daleks. With Rose at his side he could take on anything and come out victorious.
"Right," the Doctor said. They would have all the time in the world to get reacquainted later, assuming they would be able to stop the invasion, but they wouldn't be able to do so unless they acted immediately, so for now—"We've got a world to save!" he grabbed Rose's hand, the most natural thing in the world, as though they'd never been apart, and grinned at his companions. "Into the TARDIS, come on!"