Rose found the Doctor in the rain room.
Mismatched plastic furniture littered the patio flooring and beyond the elegant windows it was, as ever, raining a steady Spring drizzle over the gentle grass hills. What was real and what was an illusion, Rose wasn't quite sure and, right now, she didn't much care. The Doctor had been in here for hours, and she suspected he hadn't moved a muscle in all that time, just as he hadn't acknowledged her when she had entered.
Rose sat down in one of the less uncomfortable plastic chairs and, after watching the raindrops trickle down the windows for a few moments, pulled the seat over so that she was almost facing the Doctor. The plastic made a terrible screech against the stone flooring, but the Doctor was deaf to the sound.
He had been quiet, bordering on sulky ever since Adam had arrived in the TARDIS a few days ago. She's left him to it for a while, figuring that after the whole Dalek thing he probably need some time on his own, but enough was enough. She wasn't going to spend the rest of her life living on an alien spaceship.
It was only when she leaned out of her chair and far enough over his slouching form that they were practically nose to nose that he finally seemed to realise that he was not alone in the room.
"Anyone in there?" asked Rose.
The Doctor was still for a moment, then his eyes flicked from the rain, to Rose and back again.
Rose tried again. "You don't have to deal with it like this: you're not alone, you know. You've got me." She slumped back down into her chair, making up her mind to kick him if he didn't speak to her in the next thirty seconds.
"I've always had you," he said, quietly enough that he seemed to be talking only to himself. "Or Charley or Tegan or Sarah. They called you memento mori - reminders of death - but you're still here, and I don't need reminders anymore." He sat up in the chair, his eyes fixed on hers, and she couldn't look away. "I don't need reminders when I wake up every day and think, I'm the last."
"Sorry? Here for me? Want to be my little human friend?" He stood up, shoving the chair back with his legs and looked down at her, contempt scarring his face. "Yeah, well I don't want your pity. Your comfort! I don't need it." Suddenly, his face fell, his shoulders crumpling inwards, and he was so much younger. "I don't know what I want." It was almost a whisper. "I don't know why I keep doing this."
He looked at Rose again, and she was afraid of his eyes, of all their layers and how he didn't bother to disguise anything within them.
She stood up, reached out with one hand, touched his arm. He looked at her hand.
He spoke, his eyes holding her, trying to make her understand what words could not convey: "I was dying, right at the end. I was dying and I wanted to die. I could be with them then, be with my people. I was so close."
"But no, instead I'm a stranger to this universe where, in all fairness, I shouldn't really exist. I don't have a place here. It doesn't want me, but I'm stuck with it."
"Doctor…" she spoke quietly, almost afraid, but the Doctor did not interrupt. "Doctor, I want you. I care about you. And you care about me. I know you do."
"And that's enough?"
"That should be enough," she said.
He blinked, just once, and sat down again. "I hate them, you know."
He shook his head. "The Time Lords. Their fault. Everyone's fault, really, except mine. Right up till the very end."
"You killed them." She managed not to stutter, not to choke on the words. She didn't want to say this, didn't really want to talk about this, not now. Later, this would be better later.
"Ripped them out of time. Erased their existence, so that they had never been. I'm a monster."
Rose swallowed, she wouldn't agree, but surely she had seen a little glimpse of something dark slipping out from its cave when the Doctor had held that gun? "Why did you do it?"
His eyes were unfocussed, staring at some indeterminate point on the hillside. She wasn't sure if he had heard her.
"We had weapons. Terrible weapons that could wipe out eons of history, implode suns, liquidise worlds. And the Daleks, they were everywhere. An infection, a plague raging over the cosmos exterminating life in all its forms. Tens of thousands of worlds were nothing but ashes of the dead; galaxies became graveyards. Universal civilisation was grinding to a halt and nothing could stop them. Nothing."
"So they went back, to wipe them out at the very beginning. But each time the time-line rewrote itself and each time increasingly hateful, unstoppable monsters known as Daleks would ravage the cosmos. They sent me once, you know. Couldn't do it. I was a coward. Even worse later - I destroyed their homeworld when it didn't matter anymore and I was light years away. I don't know what I was doing."
"Actually, I do know. But I don't like it. Damn, I was a bastard."
The rain was falling more heavily, drowning the silence that Rose didn't want any part of.
It was only when she thought that he was drifting off again that she spoke. "So what happened? When you couldn't wipe them out in the past, I mean?"
He stood up suddenly, and Rose felt a flash of fear. His eyes were alive, but she couldn't tell what feeling was burning behind them. When he spoke, it was a monotone:
"We destroyed the future, and cut off huge blocks of the present to protect ourselves from the past." He stepped towards her, his gaze intense. "We began systematic extermination of any planet, any species, any timeline infected with the taint of the Daleks."
"Yeah, I know. In the end, time was torn to shreds. Universe was folding back on itself again and again, and we'd just created the weapon that would have finished it all. And I used it. Just not on the Daleks."
Rose struggled to keep her ground as he stepped towards her again, the eyes bright and aflame and moist. "We all burned," he told her. "The Daleks back to a primitive era where it would take them hundreds of years of development to even leave their own system, and someone else got to exterminate them in their infancy, and my world, my people , were burned out of existence." He grinned, teeth shining. "Saved the universe though."
"That's got to count for something," she said, ghost of a whisper.
"It. Means. Nothing."
"Doctor…" Her voice finally cracked, and she let her tears go. Her distress seemed to galvanise him, and his face twisted suddenly to a sneer.
"You can't possibly understand, not with your tiny little brain and your stupid narrow ideas. You're blind! No one on Earth even realised anything was wrong, all just going on with their petty, circular animal lives."
"You came this close to annihilation and not one of you stupid little apes had a clue. Billions died to save your pathetic, stupid civilisation and you're still fighting each other over scraps of land and who gets to sell the mineral slime."
Rose rallied her feelings, nails digging into palm, she focussed on the pain and got control of her voice as her anger flared up."If I'm so stupid, what am I doing here then? What am I doing saving your life?"
"Yeah. Good question. You tell me, Rose. You tell me why you followed an almost complete stranger into an alien ship after he almost got you killed." He was just in front of her now, and his hands were on her shoulders, immovable. Her anger dissolved into fear and she found herself looking at the collar of his jacket, afraid of seeing what had surfaced in his eyes.
"You tell me," he whispered, his breath hot against her ear. She ducked away from his arms and stepped back against the window to regain her personal space, but the Doctor was relentless. Two short steps forward and he had boxed her in, one arm either side of her shoulders.
He moved quickly, and then his lips were pressed against hers, his tongue slipping between her lips and exploring her mouth. Soft, warm, persuasive.
Stupidly, she kissed him back. It shouldn't have been like his, not like this, not when he was doing it to hurt her.
The Doctor pulled away, and his face was all sharp planes and harsh expression. He cupped her chin with one hand, tilting it up.
"Is that what you wanted, Rose Tyler? Is that why you're here?"
She should have said something, anything, but she hesitated an instant too long.
The Doctor flung himself into the nearest chair and stared out at the rain.
"Better get back to your new boyfriend," he said, voice devoid of feeling.
Rose ran from the room, the sound of raindrops lashing against the window panes loud enough to conceal her own soft sobs.