He says the words softly but close enough to her ear to drown out the roar of the wind and the sea.  They’re the only words passed between them for a long time. His hand in hers is enough for them both all the way to London.

Later the Doctor finds he can’t contain the words.  They seem to spill from his lips before he can even think about stopping them (and really, he’d never had much of a handle on this gob, even before Donna and human instinct).

He says them when she lays down a plate of scrambled eggs in front of him and again when it’s followed by a plate of beans on toast.  ”Your mastery of the toaster, Rose,” he adds. “Brilliant!” She smiles.

He says them after she stops him from drinking his orange juice by placing a hand over the top of the glass. “You’ve just brushed your teeth,” she says. “Trust me.”

He says them when an entire evening—their evening, their…date—is salvaged as she walks calmly into the room holding up his missing trainer by the laces.  ”If we hurry, they might still have nibbles,” she says.

He says them when she leads him by the tie to their bedroom.

He says them when she pads deftly and quietly across the room to the en suite in nothing but his oxford, thinking he’s still asleep. She blushes.

He sits on the edge of their bed and wonders if perhaps he’s overusing the words.  If he said them more, did it mean he meant them less?  Was he supposed to save them for special occasions, for only significant moments?  That was every moment with Rose.

But Rose still hadn’t said them back. Not to this face. Wellll, one that certainly looked a lot like this face—identical, in fact, but…What did that mean? He lets his head fall into his hands, gripping his hair and letting his elbows rest on his knees.

"I love you, Doctor," a sudden voice says from the doorway. His head snaps up.

"I love you, Rose Tyler."