A/N: I'm so sorry for the massive delay getting this chapter up! It is the summer holidays after all, and I have been out quite a lot XD And also I didn't want to rush writing this chapter seeing as it's the last one, so thanks for being so patient and without further delay here it is!
She was gone.
His mind was running riot but one thing stood out from the rest.
She was gone.
He kept trying to think of a way around it, to avoid the evident truth- she could be here somewhere couldn't she? But deep down he knew it, and it screamed at him inside his mind.
Gone, gone, gone.
He had failed her. He promptly silenced the voice inside his head and strode out towards Diane, his eyes scouring the wasteland that had once seemed so much like Earth. Rose must be out there somewhere- maybe she was looking for him, or helping someone in danger. Diane could just be distraught over the destruction of her home. After all she had witnessed it before on Saith. He could sympathise with her when it came to having to watch your home planet burn.
But the look in Diane's eyes said it all. She was crying silently and steadily, her face pale and her eyes filled with anguish.
"I'm so sorry," she managed to whisper, her voice trembling.
"Where's Rose," The Doctor asked coldly, surprised to hear that his own voice shook. He knew the answer, and she knew he knew, but he was so desperate to cling on to even the slightest hope that maybe Rose was still okay. Diane looked at him with mournful eyes that said, 'please don't make me say it, you know', but he held his stare firmly, waiting for an answer. She sighed, giving in.
"We were standing here, waiting for you to arrive- exactly where you told us to be." She paused, not sure of how to break the news, "and then the rift… there was a crack right in front of us… there was chaos, and I looked round and she was just… gone…" She drifted off, fresh tears falling down her cheeks. "I'm so, so sorry! I should have got her out of the way, kept a sharper eye…"
The Doctor just stared out into space numbly. It was his fault. If he hadn't been so slow getting here, if he hadn't told her to wait for him outside the park, if he hadn't flown into that stupid trap in the first place…
Sharp tears began to sting the corner of his eyes, threatening to pour down his face uncontrollably. This couldn't be happening; it was only moments ago he had been grinning about the fact that soon he would see her again and instead he had walked out to find he was too late. He didn't know what to do, he just couldn't accept it. This had happened so many times before- he had left people behind, people had left him, and sometimes he had lost people.
But Rose had been different. Oh so different. He recalled how broken he had felt before he had first met her, and how she had managed to heal him. He'd never felt like this about anyone before- never so strongly. How was he supposed to go back to the way he was before? Broken, alone and ridden with the guilt of losing yet another companion.
He couldn't go on like this. Maybe he deserved to be alone. Maybe that's what all this had been trying to tell him throughout the years- you've always been alone, you are alone, and you always will be alone.
Suddenly the ground rumbled beneath his feet, dragging him out of his thoughts and back down to Earth with a harsh thud. He was surprised to realise Diane was still standing next to him, crying steadily. She looked up in alarm as the ground shook again, and looked at him frantically.
"You have to go, now!" His eyes widened at her words.
"But I can't… Rose-" He began to protest, but Diane cut him off.
"I'm sorry Doctor, so so sorry! It wasn't meant to end like this, but it has and we can't change that. You need to get back to your universe now, it needs you." He just stared at her dumbfounded. "You haven't got much time!" She urged him, more tears spilling down her pallid face.
"But how can I leave her?" He yelled, more angrily than he'd meant. After all it was not Diane's fault. It was his. She shook her head slowly in disbelief at his reaction.
"But she's not here. You know that. She'd want you to go back Doctor, you don't belong here. It's not right that you should stay." He knew she was right. There wasn't anything he could think of doing to try and save her. It shouldn't even be possible that he was here in the first place. He can't have long left before the rift was sealed completely now, and then he'd never be able to get back. "Doctor!" Diane shouted, bringing him to his senses.
Numbly he ran back into the TARDIS and began throwing switches and various controls on the console, falling as the ship suddenly lurched into action and flew towards the rift once more. He didn't so much as flinch as the TARDIS crashed through the rift, throwing him around. He didn't notice the pain as he crashed around himself, and didn't even attempt to hold on. The TARDIS whirred wearily as she struggled to fly unaided through the rift, aware of how little time she had left to reach her destination.
Their flight was a blur to the Doctor- he didn't care about getting through on time, and the possibility that they could end up trapped within the void for all eternity- in his mind he was already there. All he could see was Rose, fighting to be brave as he told her that she was in a parallel world and that he couldn't reach her. He'd promised her. He never went back on his promises.
With a final lurch the TARDIS flew out of the rift into the Doctor's universe, and within seconds the rift was sealed. No way back now. Alone again.
He wasn't sure if he'd ever felt quite this alone before. Perhaps when he had lost Galifrey and his own people, but never had he felt quite so empty after losing someone close to him. He thought back to when he had seen Sarah Jane again after all those years- he had been ecstatic to see her after so long, and she had been doing so well investigating suspicious activities. She had made him feel proud. But when he'd had to say goodbye to her for real he had relived the heartbreak. Then he'd turned around and retreated back into the TARDIS, and there had been Rose. She had hugged him tightly, seeing the pain he was in, and had told him everything would be alright. But he'd known it wouldn't be. As devastated as he had been to see Sarah Jane go, it had brought to his mind the thought of how someday that would be Rose he was saying goodbye to.
But he hadn't even got to say goodbye to her. As hard as he'd tried not to think about it, he'd always imagined Rose's farewell to be a tearful goodbye, somewhere meaningful and beautiful, yet somewhat mournful in respect for the heartbreaking event. They'd share one last hug, and say how devastated they were for being separated from one another. He'd tell her just how much she'd meant to him, and how he'd never ever forget her.
He winced in pain as it suddenly hit him. He'd never get to tell her how much he cared for her and how much more worthwhile she'd made his life. Tears began to flow freely down his ashen cheeks, and once they'd started they wouldn't stop. He collapsed onto the TARDIS chair, and wept into his hands. Things had never felt as bad when she had been there beside him to hold his hand. He could face anything knowing that she was going to be right there next to him throughout. And at the same time she made seeing such beautiful and miraculous sights so much more meaningful, knowing that he had shared them with her. He just couldn't imagine going on another adventure without her. She had added such a spark to it.
He'd never cried so much in all his nine hundred years. Come to think about it he had hardly ever cried. He felt such a release of pain and grief in finally letting go; he just let all his sorrows pour out of him, washing away down his face in an endless flood of bitter tears.
Somewhere in the distant world that was reality he suddenly felt something. Something that didn't make sense at all but didn't necessarily feel like a bad thing. It was a hand. A warm hand that had been gently placed on his shoulder, so lightly he could easily have missed it, lost in his grief. He slowly began to drift back to reality as he realised that there certainly shouldn't be a hand on his shoulder, and that he should probably consider being alarmed.
He felt a flood of confusion as he came back to his senses- yes, there was definitely a hand on his shoulder. But it didn't feel threatening, in fact just the opposite. He felt a spark of hope light up inside of him, and suddenly felt angry at himself for hoping for the impossible- it would after all only lead to more heartbreak.
He cautiously turned his head and looked up through red, watery eyes. He was dreaming- he had to be. He blinked a few times, and rubbed the tears out of his eyes so that he could see properly. Still the same person stood before him, looking at him with deep concern in her unparalleled brown eyes.
"Rose?" He whispered nervously, afraid that she would disappear right in front of him should he let himself believe that she was real. A small smile spread across her face as tears welled up in her own eyes. Before either of them knew what was happening the Doctor had swept her up off her feet in a huge hug, gripping her tightly.
"Rose!" he said, louder now that he knew for sure she was real. "My Rose!" He clung onto her as if he would never let her go again- it had been such a long time since he had actually been able to touch her. She held onto him just as tightly, taking in the warmth of his body. She remembered how heartbreaking it had been seeing him as just a hologram and not being able to touch him or feel any warmth- just a cold image to taunt her.
After what seemed an eternity of simply holding each other close, they gently released the grip enough to pull back and look each other in the eyes.
"I don't understand," The Doctor said softly, taking in every detail of her face, "how did you get here?" He looked at her affectionately, a warm smile spreading across his face.
"It's like you said," Rose began, wiping away her tears, "everything should have been returned to how it was originally once the rift was sealed, and the people to where they were before it all started. And I wasn't in that world, I was here in the TARDIS with you!" she laughed, ridiculously happy at how everything had still managed to work out, even after everything that had happened to them. The Doctor grinned broadly- he needn't have risked going through the rift, nor had an emotional breakdown about losing Rose- she was going to be returned to him all along! He mentally slapped himself at being so stupid.
"I can't believe it, I thought you were…" The Doctor drifted off, shaking his head in disbelief at how quickly and dramatically events seemed to be changing. Rose's eyes clouded with worry.
"Are you alright? I've never seen you so…" Rose didn't know how to describe it. One moment she'd been in the parallel Earth, terrified that Diane would be taken by the rift. She had dived for cover, and the next thing she knew she was on the TARDIS. It was almost as if it had been all been a surreal dream and she'd just opened her eyes. She had then seen the Doctor as she never had before; he had been curled up defensively on the chair in the console room, crying desperately into his arms as he clutched his knees to his chest. It had been so distressing for her to see him like that- he was always the strong one who never showed that he was deeply upset by something, or at least not like this. Not knowing what to do she'd simply placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, and a warm tingle had run down her spine as she realised she'd made it back to him at long last, despite all the odds against them.
The Doctor dropped his gaze, ashamed that she'd seen him in that state. After all it had never happened before.
"I'm fine," He said feebly, and Rose pulled an exasperated face.
"I could see that you weren't," she said, slightly irritated that even now he wouldn't talk about it.
"I was just so scared that you were… I really thought I'd lost you…" He mumbled and finally looked up at her, and she saw fresh tears lingering in his eyes. She bit her lip, guilty that she had caused him to say that.
"I thought I might never see you again either," she replied, and couldn't stop the tears that began to creep their way down her cheeks. He attempted to smile at her reassuringly, but Rose could see straight through him. "But there's more troubling you isn't there?" His smile quickly faded. When he didn't reply, she looked at him expectantly, and he knew instantly he wasn't going to get out of this one.
"It wasn't just that I'd lost you," he spoke quietly, "it was that I'd failed you. It was my fault you were gone." It was then that she truly saw the pain in his eyes. He'd grieved her thinking it was all his fault.
"But it was beyond your control! You did everything you could have done to try and get me back- you couldn't have done more! Besides it's beyond the point. It's all in the past, I'm here now!" She smiled at him comfortingly, and he almost let himself be reassured, but he couldn't let that happen again.
"But it's not that simple. So you've survived all of our adventures so far, and this last one you only got back on luck. How long will it be before our luck runs out?" He looked at her seriously and she realised he'd been thinking on this for some time, "It's so hard for me to say this but I can't promise that I'll always be able to protect you."
"But I know you'll do everything you can, and that's good enough for me. Even if I knew I was going to die tomorrow I would still stay with you. This life you've shown me…" she paused, unable to summon words worthy to describe it, "I wouldn't trade it in for anything. And the day that I leave you will be the day that I die!" She grinned at him broadly. "Being separated from you has made me realise just how much I need you in my life! I can't live without you!" her tears began to pour down her face as she spilled her heart out to him. He hugged her tight again, a few of his own tears straying down his face.
"I wish I could tell you how much you mean to me too, but I don't think I could put it into words!" He spoke into her hair, his voice muffled. She only gripped him tighter, sobbing into his shoulder.
After another long embrace, they finally released their grip on each other. They just looked at each other affectionately, smiling contentedly.
"You should get some rest," The Doctor said after a while, looking over Rose's tearstained face and weary eyes.
"We both should," She replied rebelliously. 'Yep, Rose is definitely back,' He thought to himself, nodding nonetheless. He couldn't express just how much of an understatement saying he was happy she was back would be. He had to admit it- life without her would be pretty grim. But he couldn't let himself dwell on that.
Yes, one day somehow they would be separated, although he could guarantee they would both fight with all their hearts to prevent it. But whether it would be tomorrow or in twenty years he couldn't let that affect their lives. After all, what's the point in living a half life just because you're in fear of something that will inevitably happen one day anyway? He smiled at her as she yawned. He didn't want to waste a moment of his life with her; he still had so much to show her.
"Actually, could we go and visit my mum?" Rose asked sleepily, "I just need to see her, after her disappearing and then her home collapsing and everything."
"Of course," He said understandingly, secretly thrilled that she had called it Jackie's home, implying it was no longer hers. He knew it was true though. They were only home when they were with each other after all.
"Will my mum- I mean of that parallel world, will she be alright? She won't be alone?" Rose asked nervously,
"Well you were returned to me," he grinned at her, "So that should prove the theory that all the people taken by the rift were returned like nothing ever happened." She smiled back at him, reassured by his answer.
He strode around the TARDIS console, preparing to fly them back to 21st century London. The whole time he could feel her watching him, and he eventually spoke up, "Go and get some rest! Do you really want your mother to see you looking like that?" He said it firmly but smiled at her encouragingly. He shuddered at the thought of what Jackie would do to him if she knew what they'd both just been through.
Rose smiled at him knowingly, but didn't say anything. She knew ever since the Doctor had received that forceful slap from Jackie he had been afraid of her. Giving up she turned to leave the console room when a thought suddenly struck her.
"Wait," She started, turning back to the Doctor, "What happened to the Croulahrrs? Are we safe from them now?" She felt a chill run up her spine at the thought of the trouble they had caused, and what more they might be capable of putting them both through before they got their way. But her doubts were instantly banished by the mischievous grin that the Doctor flashed her.
"I don't think they'll be bothering us anymore." He looked at her deviously, and she raised an eyebrow questioningly. "Let's just say I left them a little parting gift." He grinned at her contagiously. "They were just far too confident in themselves."
"And you're not?" Rose retorted cheekily.
"Oi!" The Doctor looked at her offended, but before they knew it they'd both fallen about the TARDIS laughing.
Somewhere in the far reaches of space, a massive ship- which would normally have been intimidating to most species- hung motionless in ruins.
"My leader," a Croulahrr guard approached a raging Serpor hesitantly, "We cannot hope to continue searching for the Doctor- the ship will not last!"
"Nonsense!" Serpor roared in defiance, "I will never give up chasing him!"
"But sir," The guard gulped, trembling with fear, "He's out of range, and the ship has been drained of its power supply and- we don't know how- but it's falling apart!" Serpor glowered at the guard, ready to take his anger out on him when another Croulahrr came onscreen.
"Sir, we found the source of the problem. A small device has been inserted into one of main control panels, and it's causing all of the ships systems to fail. We believe the device is Timelord," He said nervously, and Serpor's frown deepened, "We must evacuate the ship immedia-" The transmission was abruptly cut off and the computer spoke, 'Communications down'.
The whole ship shook as the lights flickered out, to be replaced by a flashing red light and a warning message coming onscreen. For the first time Serpor looked concerned. He looked briefly over the message and his eyes widened. At that moment a flustered Croulahrr came rushing over to him, gasping for breath.
"My lord! The collection- they're all free!" He yelled frantically. Distant screams and explosions could be heard as Serpor's 'collection' of various species were released to seek their vengeance on the Croulahrrs for having been captured and imprisoned. Serpor shrank back from the noise.
"You," He pointed at the quaking Croulahrr beside him, "gather up all of our data on the Doctor and prepare to evacuate the ship," The Croulahrr looked down at his feet sheepishly, "What's wrong now?" Serpor bellowed.
"There was… something else we detected," He mumbled, avoiding Serpor's glare. "All of our information on the Doctor and his human girl has been corrupted by a 'Bad Wolf' virus. We don't know anything of its origin…" The Croulahrr drifted off, terrified of the fuming Serpor. Serpor just looked up out of the glass ceiling and up to the stars, shaking with fury.
There was a moral here, but whether or not Serpor could accept it was another issue.
Never come between the Doctor and his Rose.
A/N: Of course I wasn't going to end it sadly! I despise the show for doing that to us (meaning doomsday) and yet I still love it -cries- that was how Doomsday should have ended. With a happy reunion! Anyway, I'm sorry for any flaws there were to my storyline- there were probably quite a few XD- but it's done now! A massive thanks to everyone who has kept reading this story and waited patiently while I went on holiday and had other delays with this last chapter, I am so grateful for all the fantastic reviews! And thanks to Chloe for pestering me to write this chapter! You guys are great!
For those who asked yes I do have another Doctor Who fanfic planned, but it's doubtful whether I'll get it started before the end of the summer holidays and even more unlikely it would be completed before I went back to school which puts me off because I'm going back to sixth form, and there is a chance there would be big delays between chapters or the story just not being completed at all. The storyline still needs quite a bit of work as well, but I'll see what I can do :D I don't want to waste my idea after all cause I really like it :)
Once again thanks for reading, hope to see you next fanfic!