"How long ago did you die, Rose?"
She gave a shrug. "Don't know, exactly. It's so hard to tell how much time passes here."
"S'pose you had a nice, long, full life. Did you marry Mickey, and have a family?"
Rose smiled, but her eyes were sad. "No, I never married Mickey, or anyone else. I just…I couldn't. It seemed wrong. There was nothing there for me."
"So no one to carry on the Tyler name?"
"Not from me, anyways. My sisters and my brother all got married though. Nice bunch of nieces and nephews. I died when I was 43. Car accident."
It felt so strange to be talking about how she died. The Doctor winced. "Ouch. Sorry." Rose chuckled.
"It was instantaneous, at least. Not drawn out. I wouldn't have liked that." She faced him. "I waited."
A chill went down his spine, though he couldn't have said exactly why. "Rose…"
"I know, I know. I know you said it was impossible, but we'd done the impossible before. So many impossible things we'd done, and I just couldn't…I couldn't give it up. I couldn't give you up. I kept hoping, and praying that one day, something miraculous would happen, and poof! You'd be standing there, grinning at me."
"I'm sorry, Rose."
She shrugged again, trying to dismiss it. "I guess I knew it wouldn't happen, deep down, somewhere. I just wouldn't admit that it was true." Rose smiled at him. "But that's long in the past, isn't it? And look at us. Here we are, together again." She cocked a brow. "Find anyone else to take my place after?" The question was posed lightly, but there was a hint of sharpness underneath.
No one could ever replace you, Rose. "Martha. Nice girl. She got married not long after I regenerated again." She sniffed and he smothered his amusement.
"That's it? No one with you for the last life, for the home stretch?" Rose frowned. "That's sad."
He grinned. "Likely no one would want to be with me anyways. I believe I became a bit morose there towards the end. Not the sort of chap one would like to travel through all of time and space with."
"You, morose? Not sure I can picture that entirely."
"You wouldn't have liked it if you'd been there," he assured her, propping himself up on his elbows. "Ah…" He took a deep breath of fresh air. "It's so…different here, Rose. I don't think I've ever been in a place like this before. What's so different about it, Rose? Hmmm?"
"I, I don't know," she stammered, taken aback by the quick change of subject. "I don't even know why I'm here. I don't know why you're here either."
The Doctor eyed a patch of thick white clouds drifting by, easily distracted. "It's a bit odd that you're here, wherever here is," he murmured absently. "Seems like I'd be the one ending up in odd places, doesn't it?"
"S'pose," Rose said noncommittally. She smiled widely at him. "'Course, traveling around like you messes with everything. Anything can happen."Anything…
Yes indeed. Anything.
Presently he realized she was staring at him again. "Your head doesn't hurt, does it?" she asked hesitantly.
"Oh." He reached up and felt the gash again; it wasn't bleeding anymore. "No. I wouldn't think it would, considering." She grimaced, but didn't comment on his casual levity.
"How much time has passed since we were, well, you know...?" Rose inquired, glancing away from him. He squinted, calculating in his head. His eyes went wide suddenly and he sat straight up. "What is it?" Rose demanded, following his example.
"It's the TARDIS," he blurted out. "She's, she's-I, ah… I can't feel her in my head anymore. She just isn't there. She's gone." He sighed heavily. "I wonder what will happen to her now that I'm gone."
"Maybe Torchwood will find her and keep her safe," Rose suggested optimistically. He grunted.
"Yeh, if they happen to venture out into space deserts and canyons."
Her brows rose. "How did you manage to get killed falling down stairs and having a bomb dropped on you when you left the TARDIS in a, a…what is it again? A space desert?"
"We got separated," the Doctor said defensively. Rose giggled.
"That's one heck of a separation."
He gave her a light shove and she lost her balance, rolling down the hill, farther than he'd intended. "Sorry," he called, grinning in spite of himself. He remained where he was sitting, his mind grappling with this new emptiness.
For as long as he could remember, the TARDIS had always been there, a faithful presence in his brain, translating for him, prodding him gently, (and sometimes not so gently) feeling with him…
He would miss her.
Suddenly, the world tilted upside down crazily. He grunted, a delayed reaction, for Rose had climbed the hill, reaching the top at his back, and tackled him, for lack of a better term, sending both of them rolling down the grassy hill again, a tangle of arms, legs, and various loose garments.
When the incline finally leveled out, she was the one on the bottom and he was crouched on top of her. They stared into each other's eyes, each breathing heavily.
"You…you never told me…how many years have passed," Rose whispered breathlessly. Was it his imagination or was she staring at his mouth…?
"Years," he repeated, dazed. "A hun-" He never really got a chance to finish the sentence.
He wasn't sure whether it was Rose pulling his head down, or him lowering it by himself, but whatever he'd been going to say (he wasn't sure what it had been when he thought about it later) was cut off abruptly as his lips pressed against hers, and hers against his.
Strange… It feels as though lightning should be flashing 'cross the sky, thunder should be rolling, a wind should be howling, strong enough to carry us away. How can those clouds just drift by as though nothing has just happened?
The Doctor wasn't sure of the answer, but then, he didn't really need to know, at the moment.
By all accounts, he had a long, long time to figure it out.
And Rose was going to be there to help him.
(A/N- Well, there you have it! Sorry to end the fic with such a display of fluff, but I couldn't help myself. It wouldn't seem right to end it platonically. I realize this chapter is shorter than the first one, and I think this one is a little more random, but I kind of ran out of that particular line of inspiration. Anyway, hope you liked it anyway! Please review! Thanks! -C.A.)