Just a little short story, a plot bunny, I suppose, that's been bouncing around and giving me a headache.

Spoilers: Through series 2, just to be safe. TenRose, if you squint. Pure unadulterated angst.

Was thinking about extending it/adding a second part/adding a sequel, but I'm not sure, what do you think?

Disclaimer: Please keep your hands and arms inside the airpl...oh. Wrong one? Um. Right! Anyone you recognize belongs to them. points But if I save up enough, can I have CE and DT? And Billie, too, just for good measure, so I can put Rose back with the Doctor where she belongs.


Time was.

Rose never felt the passing of time anymore, not like she used to, and she wondered if she cared.

With the Doctor—the last embodiment of time, if ever there was one—she learned to concentrate. If she concentrated, she could feel every second that passed, thousands of them speeding by as they soared through the Vortex.

She wondered when she'd stopped concentrating.

Now a second became a minute, became an hour, became a day, a week, a month, a year. On and on and on.

She didn't ever notice anymore. Without even realizing it, her little brother and sister were three years old, only a few months shy of her own little Jack.

He looked like his father.

When she looked in on him, long after he was asleep, she often sat next to him and watched him breathe, ruffling his crop of chocolate-brown hair, so like his father's, cowlicks and all.

During the day, light shining bright in the sky with promises of dispelling all her dark memories, she often caught him starting at her, much like his father had done, his coffee-brown eyes, his sharp cheekbones, his patrician nose. Never questioning, just watching.

Memorizing.

These were times when Rose wondered if she'd ever look at Jack and not see his father.

She thought not.

As time move on, so did she. She'd spent the first two weeks crying uncontrollably in her grief. Now…well, now she cried less.

She'd accepted it eventually and pretended he was dead to everyone but herself and she wondered if that made her a liar.

Then she wondered if she cared.

Time moved on. Jack grew up and Rose was ever the same.

Time hurt. Every ticking second that passed was another ticking second Rose dreaded. She knew Jack would one day ask about his long-dead daddy and when he did, she cried.

One day she overheard Jack talking with his Gran and her heart broke, just a little more.

"Gran, why does my face make Mommy cry?"

Rose made sure she didn't cry in front of Jack anymore.

Time is.

When Rose dreamed, she was vulnerable, as everyone was. She couldn't keep the Doctor from her dreams and if she admitted it to herself, she didn't want to.

She still felt guilty when she woke up crying.

Eventually, she managed to cry a little less, especially when she saw Jack watching her.

Most of all, Rose Tyler had regrets. Regrets for what had been and for what never would be.

In her dreams, when he visited her in her sleep, Rose could see the Doctor holding Jack, could see the Doctor's tiny doppelganger resting on the his slim hip, Jack's small arm curled around his dad's shoulders. She had to admit, she did cry then.

But she lied and never told him it was her that was pregnant, not her mum. Lied outright to him.

She'd do it again.

She liked to think she kept a tiny piece of one of his hearts unbroken with her lie. If that was the least thing she could do to help him in his grief, then that was okay with her.

She'd ask for forgiveness.

Later.

Soon after, her mum was pregnant, so she forgave herself just a little bit. It wasn't such a huge lie anymore.

Sometimes, especially if she was standing off by herself, out on the moor behind Pete's summer home or on the beach with her entire family, she just stood.

She felt the wind roaring past her ears, her hair tugged back in the strong breeze, and she could close her eyes and feel the world slow. She could feel the spinning, churning of the Earth, the very air shuddering with the movement of time and she could imagine she was with the Doctor. She was here and he was over there, just a little bit, with that bemused look he so often got when he saw her see for the first time.

Then Jack would shout, or Amy would squeal, Jackie admonishing them both and the spell would be broken. Rose would open her eyes and she would be alone, her hodgepodge family off to the side, leaving her alone but always wondering about her.

Time will be.

When she felt the nausea, the tightening of her abdomen, the ache in her back, she knew without even taking a test, she was pregnant again.

What didn't know was how.

The last man…male…she'd slept with had been the Doctor and that had been three years on. It wasn't possible for her to be pregnant again.

She looked down at the double pink lines.

But there it was.

She wasn't sure how it happened, but as her belly began to grow, slowly, so slowly, she learned to accept it for the miracle it was. Somehow, the Doctor was sending her a message, even if he didn't realize it, telling her he was all right.

She could hope, anyway.

She'd spent years never letting herself hope but never quite forgetting the Doctor's penchant for doing the impossible. Almost everyday she woke, expecting that would be the day when she would be reunited with the beloved alien again. Everyday that expectation was a little smaller until it really didn't exist anymore.

But she'd lied to him and she lied to herself, too.

When she started to show, around her seventh month, she told her family. She told them her suspicions.

They believed her.

Another three months and the novelty of another Gallifreyan baby was growing thin. She'd carried Jack for 12 months and according to all the texts and info she'd been able to get her hands on, that was a short gestation and she was lucky.

Gallifreyan babies tended to cook for up to 18 months. Rose hoped this one was in as much a hurry as Jack had been.

When her time came, at 15 months, it was much like before. Pete sat behind her, supporting her and her mum and her mum's best friend helped her bring the baby into this world. Only this time, little Jack was there to hold his mum's hand.

It should've been his dad.

Cathica was born and eventually she began to look like her dad, too.

Jackie remarked once on the unfairness of it. Rose just went on.

Rose always went on.

Eventually, Cathica said her first word and it was "Doctor." It had been Jack's. Rose wondered if he had taught it to his baby sister.

This time around, there were less bed time stories about the man in the blue box. Less stories of aliens and stars and possibilities.

Every time Rose thought of the Doctor and possibilities, she prayed she wouldn't get pregnant again.

She didn't regret that, either.

She had Jack, she had Cathica and that was enough.

She often wondered if he was alone, and hoped not. Even if it made her heart hurt, just a little.

She hoped he had moved on as much as she'd been unable to.

She didn't dream about him anymore.

Well, not as much.

She often wondered, with a sigh, if it'd ever get easier. And then she would see Jack tickling his baby sister and prayed things never changed.