Hello, friends! Forever and Never Apart has just begun. That's the series four rewrite in Being to Timelessness. There have been two shorter works in the series in between Time is Still A-Flying and Forever and Never Apart.
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Voyage of the Damned rewrite
The Doctor and Rose made it through a year of the Master's hospitality, and now they're ready to get back to their old life–travelling the universe, and finding the trouble that's just the bits in between. Or at least they think they are. A disastrous voyage on the Titanic shows them that they aren't quite as healed as they've been claiming to be.
Their year with the Master left wounds deeper than they wanted to admit, but now, the Doctor and Rose are ready to take the time necessary to heal. This falls in between Voyage of the Damned and S4. There's a lot of emotional hurt/comfort as they work through the trauma caused by the Year That Never Was.
Forever and Never Apart:
After taking a year to recover from the Master, the Doctor and Rose are ready to travel again. But Time keeps pushing them forward, and instead of going back to their old life, they slowly realise that they're stepping into a new life. Friends new and old are meeting on the TARDIS, and when the stars start going out, the Doctor and Rose face the biggest change of all: the return of Bad Wolf.
From chapter 1:
Rose rolled onto her side and studied the Doctor, taking in the subtle lines around his eyes and that same melancholy she'd sensed in him all week. She finally knew what it was—a word she'd heard once that didn't translate well to English. Saudade—the longing for someone or something that was lost forever.
As she watched him, his eyes fluttered closed and he took a deep breath, catching the fragrance of the spring flowers. His left hand drifted until his fingers sank into the soft grass, and when she tuned into the bond, she could feel him calculating every detail of the planet around him.
She glanced back up at the sky, filled with stars, then at the Doctor. "Where are we, Doctor?"
He took another deep breath, then opened his eyes and looked at her. "This is Revla."
The Doctor waited, holding still under Rose's scrutiny. He needed her to put the pieces together. Once she understood, he could fill in the blanks, but he couldn't bring himself to say the first words.
After a long, quiet moment, she pushed herself up on her elbow and brushed her knuckles over his cheek. "And… how close are we to Gallifrey?"
He smiled, feeling something release in his hearts when Rose spoke the words. "Revla was one of the closest planets to Gallifrey. Both worlds orbited stars in the Constellation of Kasterborous. Revla was just far enough away to be part of the TARDIS pilot training course—plotting a trip here and back would be akin to… oh, I don't know, the part of your driving exam where you go on the motorway?"
"It's beautiful here," Rose offered.
The Doctor snorted. "A fact which was completely wasted on most Time Lords," he told Rose. "Admiring nature was not really a thing—that's only the smallest of ways in which I am a renegade. Was a renegade," he amended immediately, but for once, the pang in his hearts at the past tense was more like a dull ache than a hot fire poker.
"Their loss," Rose said firmly. "Because look at those stars, Doctor. I've never seen anything like it."
He nodded. "I made my trip at night, and that was the first thing I noticed about Revla. So many stars, all waiting to be explored."
Rose scooted closer to him and rested her hand on his chest. "Tell me about them," she requested.
The Doctor scanned the sky for a system that Rose would know. "Oh!" He pointed to the top left quadrant. "See that dull yellowish star? No, not that one—the bigger one, close to the red giant."
"Yeah, I see it."
"Well, orbiting that star are two planets you know—Raxacoricofallapatorius and Clom."
"Home of the Slitheen and Absorbaloff." Rose chuckled. "I haven't thought of either of those adventures in so long."
"Me either," the Doctor admitted. "The Slitheen would be what… almost six years ago now." He rubbed at his eyebrow. "Blimey, time flies."
Rose poked him in the ribs. "Even for a Time Lord?"
"Especially for a Time Lord," he agreed. "Because I can see all of time spread out before me, but I can't stop it from moving. I can't stop things from changing. And I can't…" He took a deep breath. "I can't undo some things."
Finding and losing the Master had forced the Doctor to deal with the guilt of what he'd done yet again. Having Rose at his side and in his mind greatly reduced the loneliness of being the Last of the Time Lords, but it couldn't wipe away the results of his actions. All the children who had died that day, guilty of nothing more than being born on the wrong planet.
But after a moment, he forced himself to shove those thoughts back behind the door where he usually kept them hidden. As he'd just told Rose, he couldn't undo it, and if that was the case, dwelling on it wouldn't help.
The Doctor pointed at starless spot in the sky. "Right there. That's where Gallifrey was."
They were quiet for a minute, then Rose said, "Does it… it doesn't feel like it hurts you as much to talk about it as it used to."
The Doctor sighed. "It'll always hurt," he said, his voice soft. "But when I look at the sky here, and I see all the stars and all the worlds I've visited since I left home, and all the ones I still haven't touched, I remember why I had to end the War. Because if I'd let the Time Lords and Daleks continue fighting, all of this would have ended instead."
He reached up and brushed a strand of hair out of her face. "And you, Rose. You're an even greater reminder. Seeing the stars reminds me of the broad, universal importance of ending the war, but being with you makes it personal." He gestured at their surroundings—the meadow, the flowering trees encircling it, the mountains in the distance. "If I'd landed here six years ago, right after I ended the War, I wouldn't have been able to see the beauty of it. War steals that from you. But then I met you, and your… your passion, and joy, and the wonder on your face every time we step out of the TARDIS…"
For once, words failed him, and instead, he focused on their bond and made sure she understood that meeting her had done more than just save his life. It had given him permission to enjoy life again.
Rose blinked back tears. "That's why I love travelling with you, too. Because I thought I was trapped in that life, watching telly and eating beans on toast. Everyone said I couldn't expect to have anything more. But I met you and I realised I could do more. I could save the world. And I could see the stars."
There were no fireworks, but the Doctor and Rose could feel the moment the calendar turned over, bringing a new year and new opportunities. It was the perfect time to let go of the past and step into the future.
He drew a deep breath. "Well then, Rose Tyler. Where are we going to go first?"
She rested her head on his shoulder and they looked up at the stars together. Finally, she lifted her hand and pointed. "That way."
The Doctor followed where she pointed, immediately recognising the star system. "That way?" he whispered in her ear.
Rose brought her hand down and nodded. He wrapped his arm around her, holding her close as they both felt the first hint of exhilaration shiver through them.
"Yeah. That way."