we were eternal
Around us everything's mortal
Everybody needs a piece of infinity
He tells her that time isn't a straight line, that it swirls and twists around him like water, rippling, running through his fingers no matter how hard he tries to grasp it.
A giant current and he is the unmoving rock in it.
Time moves on, but he doesn't. He stays the same, watching time drip away. Death his only constant companion.
Nothing lasts forever. Not even for a Time Lord. Infinity doesn't exist, not even in his life outside of time.
Time will flow on.
No one can change that. Not even a Time Lord.
Not even for Rose.
He takes her to Xho, hoping she'll understand.
Time is different here. History wrapped up in a matter of minutes, rushing past while they stand still.
They watch life crawl out of the mud, see it live, survive, fight and evolve. She smiles at the sight of the fast-forward planet, but slowly her face sobers.
Empires rise and fall in the blink of an eye, technology advances, regresses, trees grow, wither and turn to ashes again. Wars around them, peace, joy, hate, despair.
It's over after five minutes. Just rocks and dust left.
Time is different for everybody. She understands.
On Delichon he finds her in a white room, shying away from his touch. Broken.
He is a Time Lord and yet he came too late.
They'll pay for this, he promises, but her blank eyes just stare.
He reluctantly enters her mind, to put the shards back together to WhatWasRose.
He finds a piece that's almost undamaged and it hurts to see himself mirrored there. Eternal, the man with two hearts and two faces, protecting her.
She kept this close and didn't let go.
He saves her of course. She knew he would. He wasn't that certain.
"I had a cat once"
"A stray", she continues, "and I begged until mum allowed me to keep it."
She's watching the triple sunset as if it's nothing special. He asks himself if that's the reason he always ends up with human companions. The only species who could cope with a life like his. For a short while at least.
"It used to stare, like it was seeing things humans couldn't. Like you do."
"The ape thinks I'm a cat, now that's brilliant."
They laugh and she never mentions it again.
But he knows. She has a thing for strays.
Her head rests on his chest and she's watching swallows race through the sky above the Mare Imbrium.
"How long what?"
Such an innocent question. So many answers, none of them pleasant.
"Until you get sick of me and throw me out?"
That's not the way it works. It's not that easy. There isn't always a choice.
He smiles, strokes her hair "Never."
Time never stops. There can't be something even remotely resembling a 'never'. But he won't tell her. Never say never again.
"Tell me Rose, would you like to see 1983?"
Of course she says yes.
He takes her to the Eye of Orion and it's raining. But she doesn't mind, tries to catch raindrops with her tongue.
So full of wonder. Had he been like that once?
There it is again, her beautiful smile. She gets serious suddenly and her lips brush his.
For a moment time holds its breath and a Time Lord can believe in infinity. He can taste it in her kiss.
Just for this moment.
She pulls away, embarrassed and suddenly time begins to tick away again.
He pulls her back into the TARDIS.
So much to see, so little time.
That a coffee on EdmanIV is more than just a coffee becomes obvious when something primal surges through his veins. He stares at the console, willing his gaze away from Rose, scared of what he could do otherwise.
But she's a few steps ahead of him.
When her lips find his he realizes that losing oneself in the moment actually feels good.
Everything remotely resembling reason yelling mistake shuts up, lost in a roar of pleasure when her hands find his skin.
Later she mumbles something like mistake while she's trying to find her underwear.
They never talk about it.
On Manthodea he almost loses her.
The natives with their thorny forelegs are a bit faster than he remembers and she's not as quick as he thought she is.
Time speeds up when he sees her fall, slows down and it takes forever until he's sure she's still breathing.
It takes even longer to rub her blood off his hands after he has patched her up and gave her something so she could sleep.
He said he'd protect her. Always.
Time never stops, promises involving 'always' are as futile as his attempts to wash his hands clean of the guilt.
In the vicinity of Ursa Major he almost loses it.
She's by his side the moment he collapses, asks what's the matter with him and he laughs. It's the universe that's wobbly.
"Cramp" he hisses through gritted teeth, regretting it when the pain gets worse. "... in time." He adds and hopes she understands she can't help him.
He has to ride it out, hoping that his 27 senses won't drive him mad during this anomaly. His chances are small.
Her hand in his. She anchors him, guides him home.
Time starts to flow again as if nothing ever happened.
Five years and it felt like forever. He wonders how she mucked up his sense of time so much.
She's watching the crowd and he can guess she's remembering Xho, where everything moved except them.
She's met a man last night, a biologist. History repeating itself.
"I have to move on." He's grateful she doesn't add without you.
Time moves on and takes humans with it. He knew this day would come, but it's still painful.
"Have a fantastic life," he whispers, breaks their hug and closes the TARDIS doors behind him.
Always moving on.
Eternity never felt so lonely.
He travels to the Eye of Orion and stands in the rain for a very long time.