Disclaimer: Doctor Who isn't mine. If it was things would be quite different. The BBC owns all and I bow before them. Hamilton references belong to Lin-Manuel Miranda and were used gleefully.
Written for timepetalsprompts on tumbler and their weekly prompt: Doomsday. I took the triple dog dare and included some fluff (along with a fixit).
Many thanks to tenroseforeverandever for her excellent beta skills, and any mistakes remain my own.
The Doctor watched in horror as Rose Tyler's fingers slipped. Bless his precious girl, so determined to save the day, no matter the cost. He'd seen oceans rise, empires fall, caused the death of billions with his very own hands, and yet watching the woman he loved fall towards the void cut to the quick within his soul. He was the Doctor and he fixed things, but he was powerless against this pull. There was simply nothing he could do, not at this point. This was what he'd been trying to avoid all along.
Rose's gaze locked with his, and the Doctor was stunned to see her eyes reflected no fear, but instead were golden and glowing. His mouth dropped open in shock as the whirring of the TARDIS sounded and it materialized in the lever room.
His magnificent time and space ship opened her doors and caught Rose safely inside. Both elation and a deep fear took root inside him. This was a risk, dealing in milliseconds, and he could lose them both if the pull of the void was too great. They never should've risked this. What would he do without them? Without either of them?
The Doctor was momentarily distracted from his dark thoughts as Pete Tyler then appeared for a brief second. He could only gape as the man looked around for Rose, before pressing his jumper button and disappearing. Right after Pete vanished, the void sealed itself and the Doctor slumped down as a now defunct timeline winked out of existence. The TARDIS and Rose were nowhere to be seen, but he hadn't felt a jump to the vortex, nor could he sense either of them now. It was as if they no longer existed at all.
NO. The Doctor tamped down his fear. Together Rose and the TARDIS had done the impossible before; surely they would do so again. Saving the day, saving him, that's what they did. She'll be back, he told himself. You'll see. They both will be.
Several moments passed and the Doctor didn't take a breath as he focused on not counting the passage of time. He didn't want to know. He glanced back at the space he had last seen the TARDIS and Rose as his respiratory bypass finally kicked in.
In that instant, hope returned to the Doctor, as he felt his bond with the TARDIS snap firmly back into place. The next thing he knew, Rose and his ship were back in the lever room with him.
Relief flooded his body as he stood up. How had he ever thought holding back his feelings from Rose would make him hurt less when time or circumstance finally separated the two of them? He'd seen that aborted timeline. He'd seen what would've happened had it not been for the intervention of the TARDIS and Rose. He'd seen how his words would've died unspoken on his lips. But now he could remedy that.
The TARDIS doors opened wide and a blur of blue and blond jumped into his arms and he whirled her around.
"Doctor!" Rose cried out happily, exhaling golden particles. She studied them as they floated in the air before dissipating. "What just happened?"
"In a moment," he breathed against her hair. Gently, he lowered them both down next to the TARDIS, and rocked her back and forth. Lifting her chin up, he stared into her eyes, now back to their usual honey warmth. "Rose Tyler, I love you. I have since the day we met and will for the rest of my lives."
The Doctor brought his lips to hers, kissing her reverently. Rose gave a started gasp, but then her body relaxed as she met him, returning his kiss with gentle pressure. "I love you too, my Doctor."
He rained several more kisses across her face, before pulling back to answer her earlier question. "I think you called the TARDIS, Rose," he began. "When you slipped, I saw your eyes and they were glowing, just like they did on the Game Station."
"Are they now?" she asked, her brow furrowed.
He shook his head. "Nope. Back to normal."
"I thought you took it all out of me a year ago?"
"I thought I did too." The Doctor lifted his hands towards her temples, and then rubbed a finger across them. "May I look?"
Rose bit her lip, then nodded. "Yeah."
"If you don't want me to see something, imagine a door," he told her. "Close it and I won't look."
Rose nodded and closed her eyes.
Doing the same, the Doctor gently lowered his consciousness into her mind. Love and Rose surrounded him, and he had to concentrate not to get lost in the warmth of it all. He surveyed her brain, and while he didn't find a trace of the vortex remaining, there was a definite decreased cell degeneration. Rose Tyler, potentially had centuries ahead of her now. As he eased himself out of her mind, he felt the grin spread across his face. Bad Wolf had given them a very long future together.
"I'm okay?" Rose asked, as she opened her eyes and studied him.
"More than, my precious girl." There was so much more to say, but right now he could feel exhaustion tugging at him after the events of the day and wanted nothing more than to snuggle up against her and drift off to sleep.
Standing up, he hugged Rose tightly and reached out a hand to his ship, placing his palm against the door on the right. He forgave her for damping their bond while she fought to save herself and Rose. If it hadn't worked and they had perished… he shuddered at the thought. Thank you.
The TARDIS gave a warm hum in his mind and he returned his attention back to Rose. She too looked ready for a good sleep.
"Ready to go?" he asked. He held out his hand to her, fingers wiggling.
Rose took his hand and tilted her head toward the TARDIS. "Home," she agreed, though her voice wobbled on the last word.
As they stepped into the TARDIS, the ship flashed the coordinates of a dying sun across the navigation monitor and he sent her his gratitude. Bad Wolf Bay wouldn't be the end of their story, as it almost had been, but he was knew that part of the timeline was still possible. They could give Rose the chance to say goodbye to her mum.
"I'm so sorry…" he started, as he ran a hand through his hair.
"No!" she interrupted him, placing a hand on his chest. "Don't apologize, not for this! I already told you. I made my choice a long time ago. I know it won't be easy, but this is the life I wanted. Even if it's without my mum."
The Doctor shook his head and gathered her back into his arms as her shoulders started to shake. "I'm not sorry you're here, Rose. I'll never be sorry for that. Ever. But I am sorry Jackie's gone and there's no way you can ever visit her again."
He paused and took a deep breath. "But you can say goodbye. I saw what would've happened, if the TARDIS hadn't come to your rescue. Pete would've caught you and you would've gone back to his world. I would've only been able to say goodbye to you through a short transmission. We can do the same with Jackie and Pete, and let's not forget Mister Mickey. You can let them all know you're alive and you're with me."
"Oh," Rose sniffled and smiled, despite her tears. "I can say goodbye?"
The Doctor nodded and gave her another squeeze. "Course you can."
"Can we do it tomorrow? I want her to know how happy I am, not see me like this" She gestured to her rumbled clothing and tear streaked face. "Right now I just want to sleep."
"In the morning," he agreed, taking her hand as they entered the TARDIS.
Without words, the Doctor and Rose headed towards her room. So many times in the past he had cuddled her above the covers until she fell asleep, but no more and never again. This time they stripped down to their vests and pants and crawled into her bed, side by side. He opened his arms and she snuggled into them, nesting her head against his shoulder.
As the Doctor drifted off to sleep next to his beloved, he gave one last mental shout out to the heavens and to the TARDIS. He had seen many doomsdays in his lives. Today, however, had not been one of them.