Afterlife

By Childhood Aspirations

Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who, any of the characters, or any dialogue that I borrowed.

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Part One

He floated through nothingness, which, considering what he'd just been through, was a blessing.

Wait…nothingness…

…Never mind. That's not a good thing.

That meant that…

"Rose? Rose, is that you? What are you doing here? How did you get here?"

"Doctor? The Doctor? What are you doin' here? How did you get here?"

He grinned at her, the one thing about him that never changed, in spite of everything. "I asked you first," he pointed out.

Rose, for it truly was Rose, as much as the Doctor found it difficult to believe, cocked her head to one side and frowned at him. "You've regenerated again," she remarked. "You look younger than ever."

"Two regenerations, actually," he said lightly. "Didn't take as much time to run through them as I thought it would."

Her frown deepened. "But…that means that you're on your last life…so to speak."

Another cheeky grin. "More than a cat, but it seems they go faster."

"But Doctor, you still haven't told me what you're doing here."

He looked around. "Where's here, exactly, or do you not know?"

Rose cleared her throat. "Well… I suppose here is being used rather generally, as opposed to specifically, considering, ah, the obscurity of our surroundings."

At that point, he realized that nothingness had dissolved into something else, which explained when Rose meant by obscurity.

Succinctly, they were in a field. A meadow, actually, complete with a bright blue sky overhead that was littered with thick, fluffy white clouds, and green grass that was dotted with yellow daisies.

Odd.

Very odd.

"Huh." The Doctor looked around, taking in the few details that there were with apparent interest. Rose watched him carefully, and kept watching him until he finally became aware of it. "What? What are you staring at?"

"You," she said shortly. "Your head is bleeding."

He reached up with hesitant fingers and felt the gash running from his scalp down his temple. "Ah hah. So it is." The lightness was forced now, definitely, and Rose didn't have to be brilliant to sense it. She had traveled with the Doctor for a considerable amount of time.

She knew him well enough.

"What's going on? What happened to you?"

"Nothing," he said with a small shrug of the shoulders. She put her hands on her hips and he lifted his, palms out. "It's nothing, Rose, I swear. It's just…" He licked his lips and went back to studying his surroundings.

It was certainly easier than watching her.

"It's just what?" she demanded.

"Well, here's the thing; I think I just died." His brow furrowed in thought, as though he was confused about something.

Rose's mouth fell open. "You what? Did you just say you died?"

"Um…"

"You're the Doctor! You can't die! You can't! I won't let you! The universe needs you, Doctor!" She swallowed. "I need you." Her chin firmed after making the confession. "You can't die!"

He met her gaze seriously. "But you died, Rose. Why can't I?"

Her eyes nearly popped out of her head. "Are you saying you want to die?" she exclaimed.

He tilted his head slightly, as though sniffing the air. It was an action she'd grown accustomed to. He could feel things she couldn't, sense things she couldn't, and that gesture signified that he was doing just that.

It just so happened that it disturbed her even more now than it normally had.

"Like I said, I think I already did," he murmured. He squinted at the sky for a moment; when he turned his gaze back to Rose, he discovered that her eyes were filled with tears. "Aw, Rose, what- Don't cry now. You're not crying, are you?" He paused for a moment as those tears began streaming down her cheeks. "You are crying. Ah, why are you crying, Rose?"

"Why?" she repeated, her voice thick with emotion. "How can you ask me that? You're the Doctor, and now you're saying that you've died, and you don't think I should cry? If Sarah Jane were here, or Reinette, or Cleopatra, don't you think they would cry too?"

He frowned at that. "Cleopatra?" he repeated in puzzlement. "I only mentioned her once."

"Yes, but you called her Cleo," Rose sniffed. He grinned at her, but she was not amused.

Not by any stretch of the imagination.

"I can't believe it," she murmured, sitting down in the grass on the hilltop. He sat down next to her.

"Can't believe what?"

She shot him that you-got-to-be-kidding-me look. "That you're dead, you idiot," she said.

"Oh."

Rose gave a sigh of long-suffering and shook her head at him. "You're absolutely hopeless, you know that?"

Grin. "Doesn't really matter now that I'm dead, does it?"

She slapped him.

Hard.

"How can you be so bloody light about it?" she shouted. "You're dead! The Doctor is dead, and the world is going to collapse without you! You do know that, right? What are they going to do without you?"

He shrugged. "Go on with their lives the way Mother Nature intended, or what higher intelligence have you. Uninterrupted, not meddled with…" He winced and rubbed his cheek. "That hurt.

"The way Mother Nature intended?" she repeated, ignoring his complaints. "I thought Mother Nature intended for you to save the world from disaster." She raised a brow at him. "Isn't that the reason you exist?"

"Well… I don't know if I would go that far…"

"I would," Rose said quietly.

There was silence for a little while as they both gazed up at the clear blue sky.

"You know, Rose, you really don't have to worry about the world, when you think about it," the Doctor said finally.

"Why's that?" she inquired, frowning slightly.

"Because there's 12 of me out there in the universe right now, giving help where it's needed."

She stared at him blankly. Blink, blink.

"Time travel, Rose…?" he pressed. A look of understanding flooded her features.

"Oh, right." Pause. "How exactly does that work, again?"

Silence.

"Um…in a very complicated manner…?"

"Never mind. I don't want to know."

"No, you probably don't."

Rose grinned at him and lay back in the grass, closing her eyes. He watched her, studying her.

She hadn't changed a bit.

"Are you going to tell me how it happened?" she said abruptly, startling him out of his thoughts.

"What?"

She rolled over onto her side, watching him seriously. "How you died," she said solemnly.

"Oh, that. Well… Someone kind of pushed me down three flights of stairs, and then a bomb kind of went off in the building…"

Once again, her eyes were bulging. "Someone kind of pushed you and a bomb kind of went off? You never were one for straight talking, you know that?"

"What do you mean by that?" he demanded. She rolled her eyes and shook her head, apparently abandoning him as a lost cause. They stared at each other as the moments stretched onward. Neither said anything, but the silence wasn't uncomfortable.

Presently the Doctor heaved and sigh and flopped down, stretching out in the grass, mimicking Rose's pose.

"I don't know where this is, or what happened, but I think I like it here, Rose." She smiled at him. "Yes, I think I like it here…"

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(A/N- Don't worry, there's more. Next I think we'll talk about what the Doctor and Rose have been up to and their feelings for what happened during DOOMSDAY. -C.A.)