~PtI of 'A Calendar of Stories Series'~

January – "January Blues"

January 2008. The TARDIS landed with a groan as the blue outer shell of the old-style police box came into view. It was a moment or two before the Doctor finally decided to look at where he had landed this time.

There was urgency to explore in the way he carried himself out of the ship's doors and the look on his face when he realised where he was told anyone who dared walk passed him that this was the last place he wanted to be.

London. He was back in London. And judging by the cold and the puddles which were only just beginning to thaw, it was late morning, sometime in January.

The Doctor looked around at the people walking by, trying to work out when about he was. Everything screamed early twenty-first century; around 2008, he gathered looking at the way the people dressed themselves and the technology they carried. January 2008. That meant he hadn't been near this part of the universe for six months.

Six months. That was all it had been. Six months since the Battle. Six months since the Daleks and Cybermen had taken over…

…Canary Wharf.

He was by Canary Wharf.

Looking up, the Doctor instantly recognised the tall skyscraper with the pointed top.

Of all the places the TARDIS could have taken him and she brought him here. Why?

Maybe she thought it was time to let go?

Then something caught his eye. A bit of colour amongst the bleak grey of the London winter's morning. He turned towards it. Ahead of him were bunches of brightly coloured flowers, cut and placed around a tall, straight statue of marble by the entrance of the building.

As he walked closer, the Doctor realised it was a memorial and it didn't take a genius to work out what it was a memorial for. Names of the dead and missing carved neatly into the pristine marble; a clear tell-tale sign of how recent it was since the Battle finished.

In a moment, he found himself staring at the names, his breath, visible from the cold, clouding his view every time he breathed.

With his hands in his pockets, the Doctor scanned the names, up and down until his eyes focused on the name he had been searching for.

Rose Tyler

Even though he was expecting it – had even been looking for it – it still felt wrong to see her name up there with the list of the dead.

He sighed sadly, his long breath visible as white mist around his face. He wouldn't usually admit it, but the cold was starting to get to him. He thought about what Rose would have said to him had he admitted to that:

"So much for that 'superior biology' you keep bangin' on about!"

He shook the thought out of his head, it wasn't going to do him any good thinking about things which would now never happen.

"Who did you lose?" The Doctor looked across to his right and saw a woman standing beside him. She was short, with mid length brown hair. She didn't look at him but rather continued to stare at the memorial ahead of her.

Turning away, the Doctor did the same and when he didn't answer her question, the woman carried on.

"My husband was taken by the metal men." She said, though the Doctor was only half listening. "I hid with my daughter, but I lost her when those things started shooting down at us. I never found her. Both their names are up here. I come here every day, hoping that one day I might come to terms with their losses." She sighed and the Doctor looked over at her briefly as a tear rolled down from her eye. "Life carries on, though. And I'll never stop looking for my daughter, but I know I can't stay in the past forever. I have to live on and make them both proud."

"Yeah," The Doctor said quietly, almost distractedly.

"I hope you do the same. Whoever you lost, I'm sure that wherever they are right now, they're waiting for you to get on with your life. Guess these things take time." The woman looked at the Doctor properly for the first time since she had stood next to him and the Doctor met her gaze.

"Make them proud." The woman gave him a small, sympathetic smile, patted his arm gently with a small, gloved hand and made her way away from the memorial.

The Doctor watched as she walked away, leaving him on his own once more.

'Make them proud' she had told him. How was he to do that? How could he make her proud? But then it hit him. He would find someone and continue to save the universe. He knew that was what she would want for him.

"When I'm gone, promise me you won't be on your own. You're rubbish without anyone there to guide you."

It felt like a lifetime ago since she had told him that, but it hadn't been long after the Beast had spoken his prophecy and he had felt the storm approach. Back then, he felt like the two of them could escape anything: how naïve he had been.

But it was time to leave the January blues behind. Time to move on with his life. He would find someone, however long it took. No, he wouldn't actively search for someone, he would know when the right person came around. It might take him awhile to adjust to having someone new on board the TARDIS, but then again, it always was.

He wouldn't forget Rose though; he could never manage that. And in that moment, he promised he would talk about her. For the first time in his long life, he wouldn't just walk away. Rose had made him the man he was today, he owed it to her to keep her alive in his memory. He had never been one to look back because of the pain it brought up, but he couldn't bear to forget all the special memories he had shared with Rose.

Yes, it was time to change. He could do it if he tried. He might not want to at first, but he would come around.

Spring was just around the corner.