Go ahead as you waste your days with thinking
When you fall everyone sins
Another day and you've had your fill of sinking
With the life held in your
Hands are shaking cold
These hands are meant to hold
Speak to me, when all you got to keep is strong
Move along, move along like I know you do
And even when your hope is gone
Move along, move along just to make it through
Five years after Rose Tyler stepped out of the TARDIS into London, she sat in her cold flat on the uncomfortable sofa, television blaring away in front of her, pot noodle that had been going cold for half an hour uneaten on the coffee table.
At first all she had been was angry. He was so- so- cocky, thought he knew everything. She'd seen just as much as him, more than him, even. If he thought he could carry on without her then he could try it. She stood in the street, fists clenched, waiting for him to emerge from the doors to tell her to stop being so stupid and come back in.
He didn't. The sound of grinding machinery filled the air, wind blowing about, and Rose's heart skipped a beat. But no- he'd be back, in just a minute, wouldn't he? He'd be back and he'd be all apologetic and beg her to go back with him, really beg.
Rose waited for an hour in the cold before she turned for the flat. He'd come and get her. He'd just.. Make her wait, first, wouldn't he? Being as cocky as he was. And then he'd come back. Or there might have been an accident with the TARDIS, it might have gone a month in the future by mistake or something.
Rose, five-years-older-and-not-wiser Rose leaned forwards to pick up her phone from the table. Still the old, clunky Nokia that hadn't broken once. For the hundredth-thousandth time she scrolled down through the numbers to get to TARDIS. It was still the same. Still the number that was about ten digits too long to be a proper phone number.
Her thumb, for the hundredth-thousandth time, hovered over the button to make the call.
It took a month before Rose realised that maybe the Doctor wasn't going to come back. A whole month of waiting. A whole month of sitting around the flat, not getting a job because it'd be one more thing to keep her out when he could be there. She endured real life, get up, get dressed, eat, do nothing, eat, do nothing, sleep, begin again.
None of it was fair. There was no magic solution this time, no TARDIS to turn to so she could get back and save the world (again). She grabbed her phone from her hoodie pocket and rushed through the contacts, got to the right number, and she told herself to press the button.
Her thumb didn't move.
She sat there, staring down at the phone, until Jackie came in and told her that Suzie from down the road was pregnant again.
Rose put the phone down again and folded her arms, staring dully at the television. There were never any disasters anymore. No random alien attacks. Nothing. When the Sycorax left they must have been the last in a while, because there hadn't been anything in the whole five years she'd been in London. She should have been out or something, visiting Mickey at the garage like a good, supportive fiancee.
Instead, she put the shopping channel on and saw that they were flogging necklaces that'd probably make your skin go green.
It was about time, Rose decided, that she did something with her life. If he was going to be away for a while (not left me not left me he hasn't left me) then she should at least get herself a decent job. For a decent job you needed decent exam grades. Education.
A-levels, it turned out, were hard. Very hard.
But Rose was clever. Rose was determined. Rose got two As, this time, one in science (shocking everyone) and one in history. She got a few Bs, too, and a C, but it was enough. Enough to get a decent enough office job. And that job got her enough to get her own, smallish, flat.
At the back of Rose's mind, or at the front, was the Doctor. Always the Doctor. In her dreams they saved the world together and saw the stars. He changed his face, again, this time he wasn't rude and he was ginger. But then he started changing more in her dreams, an old man or someone wearing an insanely long scarf.
Rose, in her normal life, heard a knock at the door. She grumbled under her breath, clambering up from the sofa and pressing the pause button on the remote.
The perils of her life went like this: nearly getting pregnant, getting papercuts, and door-to-door salesmen. When she opened the door, what Rose saw was hardly a door-to-door salesman.
There was a box. A small, cardboard box, with her name written on it in curly writing. Frowning, she picked the thing up and slammed the rickety door shut again.
In the box were her clothes. All of her old clothes and her makeup and what she had left in the TARDIS, trinkets and coins and, right at the bottom, a letter.
Thought you might want these back. Don't ask how I know where you live. But asking paper'd be stupid anyway, wouldn't it?
And there wasn't anything else. It wasn't even a letter, really, just a memo. But right at the bottom, in smaller writing, there was more.
Well done on the job. And the baby's going to be lovely.
The baby was lovely. Even if it wasn't particularly planned. It had lovely dark skin, and lovely dark hair, and looked just like Mickey, really. You could hardly tell that Rose was the mother.
One day, when Rose and Mickey were in the pub (Jackie had baby Gwyneth) he got on one knee and proposed. Rose looked at him like he was mad, and then she shakily accepted. Mickey was so happy he bought the whole pub a drink, which cost him nearly a week's wages.
While he grinned and chatted to his mates ecstatically, Rose slipped out of the bar. She stood in the street, arms folded for warmth, as snow started to drift down lazily. Up in the sky, a shooting star passed.
She remembered last time this had happened, it had been because of dead aliens. Not because of anything poetic.
Was he dead?
Dreaming is what Rose did best. She didn't have a real job. She had to quit, after the second baby (they called him Jack), and after that she looked after the two kids.
One day, when Rose was reading them a bedtime story about Little Red Riding hood, Gwyneth turned to her and told her that she'd met the huntsman. He was very tall, apparently, and wore a long coat and a stripy suit, and when Gwyneth asked him what he was doing he said that he was looking for the big, bad wolf.
The man never did find the big, bad wolf. At least, he didn't take it away. Rose grew older and older, looked after the children. She never told them stories about aliens or monsters. She never thought about the Doctor (always thought about the Doctor), and never looked up at the sky (always watched for shooting stars), and she never, ever heard the TARDIS again (there in her dreams, always there).
The man did find a wolf, once. Rose was a very old woman, and she had lived a very long and (un)happy life. Once upon a time, the huntsman went back to Grandmother's house to see her again, and he saw the wolf never really ate her. The wolf had just turned into the Grandmother.
Once upon a time, Peter Pan went back to Wendy and saw that much too many spring-cleanings had passed, and now only her children were left to play with him.
Once upon a time, the lonely god went back to Rose Tyler. She was old, so old, so frail. He held her hand while she slept until she slept forever, and dreamed for the rest of time about monsters and the man who had changed his face.
So a day when you've lost yourself completely
Could be a night when your life ends
Such a heart that will lead you to deceiving
All the pain held in your
Hands are shaking cold
Your hands are mine to hold