Another songfic (I'm sorry). But I can't help what the little plot bunnies (evil bastards) put in my head. Heard this song on my iPod at work the other day and this is what my muse wanted to see. It's If I Could Be Where You Are by Enya, on the new CD, Amarantine. Beautiful song, totally recommend it.
Disclaimer, etc: I own nothing, except maybe the words and they way they're arranged. Since DT is doing such a wonderful job as TenDoc (I hear), I'll keep on borrowing CE...do you think he'd mind handcuffs?
Rose Tyler snuggled deeper into her jacket, staring at the half wall across the recreation ground. The words had long since faded from the pavement, the chalk washed away by the rain and melting snow. The words on the wall, however, remained. The spray paint had faded, certainly. Some of the words partially covered. But they were still here.
She wondered if he survived.
Beneath her grief, fighting constantly with her grief, was her anger at him. How dare he had sent her back? Part of her, a small part of her, understood that he'd done it to protect her. Because he loved her.
The spurt of warmth she always felt at that thought grappled with the stunning cold of grief. How dare he make her to realize too late that he loved her?
Why couldn't she have gone back to save him, like he had saved her?
Where are you this moment
Only in my dreams
You're missing, but you're always
a heartbeat from me.
She wished dreadfully that he survived, even if he wasn't coming back for her. Maybe he finally realized how dangerous it was for her. She often wondered why he had taken her, and Jack, eventually, on as companions. His nature seemed much more that of a loner, of a lone wolf.
The tears threatened again, but she managed to hold them back. It was getting easier to not tear up at the thought of him. Time passed, as time was wont to do, albeit slowly. Eventually, she mused, he'd be a distant memory.
The flakes began to drift down from the darkening sky and she tugged her hat down a little bit more over her cold ears. Her cheeks and nose and lips had long since gone numb, but she was used to it now.
I'm lost now without you.
I don't know where you are.
I keep watching,
I keep hoping,
but time keeps us apart.
Sometimes, on the clear, crisp nights, she'd go to the roof of her council estate and stare up at the stars. She liked to think he was up there on one of them, 1000 years ago or a billion in the future, doing the same thing he'd always done. She hated to think that his beautiful body was dead and cold and lifeless on that game station, alone. Or worse yet, that the Daleks had done something to it.
How dare he make her to realize too late that she loved him?
She wondered, vaguely, exactly when Mickey and her mum had given up on her. Almost from the beginning, they'd insisted she moved on. Even as she sat in the chippy with them, the very day she had returned, they told her the Doctor had done the right thing.
Why, then, did it feel so wrong?
She knew she was being melodramatic; that's what she did these days. She knew she'd keep being melodramatic until she got over it…over him.
She stared at the words. She had no idea what they meant but she recalled the Doctor saying in Cardiff that those very words had been following him, following them. If for nothing else, they were her only link to him.
That, and the cold metal of the TARDIS key that hung between her breasts, strangely quiet and empty for so many months. She couldn't part with it.
Is there a way I can find you,
Is there a sign I should know,
Is there a road I could follow
To bring you back home?
The TARDIS wasn't connected to her the way it was to him; there was no way to beckon it. She, the TARDIS, for Rose believed she was a living, breathing thing and not just a ship, was the Doctor's and her loyalties ran first to the Doctor—much like Rose's own.
He had told her, in that damned hologram he'd used as a goodbye—and he couldn't have even given her a chance to say goodbye, could he?--he had said to let it sit on the sidewalk somewhere and gather dust. To let it disappear on its own.
For weeks she had sat in the park across from where it had arrived when it brought her back, waiting for any sign of flickering, of movement, of the rumble of the motors. She had sat and watched, as each day there was a bit more graffiti on the sides and doors, a window pane here and there was cracked, the handle broken when, she assumed, someone had tried to break in and found they couldn't.
The first few times, she'd come back during the night and scrubbed the paint off, or taped paper over the open window. One day, not so very long after he had sent her back, she unlocked the door and peered inside.
It had broken her heart to see it empty.
Still, she figured that had been part of the emergency programme. He had said it wouldn't return to him.
Still, she wished she had tried.
So, she let it gather paint and cracks and bangs and bruises until one day, she returned faithfully to her watch post and found that the TARDIS had finally done what the Doctor had told her it would. It had disappeared, on its own. It had faded into non-existence.
Her mother had gotten angry with her, so many times. "If you love it so much, take a pillow and move in there, why don't you?"
Rose had thought of it.
Still, when she'd come home crying the day it was gone, Jackie had comforted her.
Rose was very thankful for Jackie Tyler. Most times.
Winter lies before me
Now you're so far away.
In the darkness of my dreaming
The light of you will stay
The street lights up and down the estate began to pop on in the darkening gloom. She looked up at the blustery sky, felt the ice cool snow brush her cheeks, imagined there'd be a couple inches of snow on the ground before the storm was through. Still, it was that sort of spot between cold and balmy, the one where the big, fat snowflakes form and fall; the temperature that made it possible to sit or walk or stand in the snow and enjoy the first storm of the season.
Did he think she would forget him?
She remembered the first time they'd been in the snow together. It was some planet, some lonely planet far in the past and he'd brought her there to show her the northern lights, completely unfettered by any light at all. Simple, really, compared to most of their travels, but it'd been nice to experience the peace and quiet with him, a rare moment when he didn't push his mania forward to cover the grief that sparked in his electric blue eyes.
Pity she couldn't remember the name of the planet.
Would she ever be able to think of anything again, and not have it remind her of him?
She heard the rattle of a car a few blocks over and glanced at her watch. Quarter to midnight. Tomorrow was the first day of winter. Christmas was a few days away. She'd already gotten everyone's gifts together, had had everything wrapped and ready weeks before, for the first time in her life.
What else did she have to do?
Get up, get ready, go to work, come home, eat supper, watch TV, go to bed. Get up, get ready, go to work, come home, eat supper, watch TV, go to bed. Day in, day out, for the last 9 months, 14 days and—she glanced at her watch—7 hours and 37 minutes. Odd number of seconds, but she hadn't been paying enough attention to know how many now.
And with that, came a thought.
He'd told her to have a good life. To do that for him, to remember him. But what was she doing? Working in a dead-end, retail job that couldn't even pay enough for her to get her own flat. She'd just turned 21 and here she was, working with loads of high-schoolers to pay her mobile bill and chip in money to her mum for food and things. What sort of good life was that?
Maybe she'd try and go back to school. Get a degree in something—anything was better than working at the department store—and try and live up to what he had asked of her. How was she honouring his memory by moping about like this? She knew he'd be pissed off if he knew the truth.
But, asked the devil on her shoulder, wasn't she allowed to grieve?
If I could be close beside you
If I could be where you are
If I could reach out and touch you
And bring you back home
She heard the slam of a door and glanced at her watch again. It was so easy to lose track of time when she sat and thought about him. He'd come in and irrevocably changed her life and her heart and he expected her to go back to working at Henrick's?
The anger spurted up once more, sparring with the ever-present numbness of grief. She forced herself to stare at the words across the park from her. She knew she didn't have to, they burned constantly in her mind. She looked down, picturing the words perfectly beneath the light dusting of snow. They were gone. Still, she saw them.
If she could find the TARDIS, she would spend the rest of her days searching for him. For his body, at least, so that she could give it a proper burial. If…Time Lords did that sort of thing. How should she know?
She'd tried to call the TARDIS. She'd tried to concentrate on it, to will it back to her. She'd phoned it up and just listened to the staticky buzz of a dead line. She knew he'd come back for her if he could.
And so, she tried to move on.
Is there a way I can find you
Is there a sign I should know
Is there a road I can follow
To bring you back home to me
Couldn't blame her for trying, right? Maybe not well, but she was working on it. She'd get it eventually. She'd always been one to hold tightly on grief. A classmate had died years ago and she still caught herself crying about it if she thought too deeply about him. How could anyone expect any less of the grief she felt for the only man she'd really loved?
A pair of white running shoes appeared in the snow before her, silently stepping into her line of sight. She looked up the brown, pinstriped suit and the brown jacking flapping in the wind.
Was that upholstery?
"Yeah? What do you want, then?"
Her voice came out a bit meaner, a bit harsher than she planned on, but damn it, this was her private time. Everyone around here knew not to bother the delusional girl on the park bench.
Not the same since she'd gone "travelling," they whispered to each other with knowing looks. As if she suffered from some post-traumatic stress disorder or something.
The man in front of her wasn't so very special looking at all. He had dark brown hair, unkempt and unruly in the breeze and piercing, dark, dark eyes, eyes that looked almost black in this light. His eyes roamed over her face, as if he was studying every inch, every nuance…as if he could see every thought in her head.
And then brown met brown and she felt that spark, that jolt that she'd only ever felt with one other person.
And she saw the Doctor.