Disclaimer: David's perfectly happy letting me own him. I feed him and water him. At least once a week.
A/N: No idea where this came from, absolutely none. Well, a song, but I don't really have to turn every song I hear into a story, do I? Just a little Angstity McAngst. Happy angst, maybe? Who knows.
Summary: Whichever path our lives take, you've rewritten the map my life follows, just like I know I've rewritten your own.
The Doctor's hearts were pounding hard, slightly out of sync, as he stumbled out of the TARDIS. He looked around, breathing heavily, trying to gauge his surroundings. The TARDIS had materialised on a long stretch of beach, stinking of fish and sand, the wind rustling through the dune grass.
He let out a painful sigh.
Bad Wolf Bay?
Why the hell had he ended up here? He'd set course for Torchwood, Pete's World, so why the hell was he in Norway?
He climbed over a short outcropping, peering into the distance, but it was just sand and water for as far as he could see. He pulled out his sonic screwdriver and clicked a couple settings before heading toward the rolling grassy hills that led away from the beach. The reading grew stronger and he jumped off the rocks onto the damp sand.
He looked straight down between his trainers at the unmarred sand and frowned. He glanced at the screwdriver, shaking it.
"Sand is not alien tech," he muttered. The screwdriver hummed insistently and sighing, he clicked it off and placed it back in the inside breast pocket of his navy blue suit jacket. He toed his trainer at the sand, pushing it around before crouching down. He picked up a longish, flatish rock and began shovelling the sand away, keeping at it until the sharp end of the rock scraped across something solid.
He kept digging a bit more until he had more of the object uncovered and then reached his long fingers in and worked it from the sand.
Sitting back on his haunches, he looked at the rough hewn box in his lap. The wood was weathered, but still in good condition, and the brass lock on the front wasn't rusted at all. Pulling out the screwdriver again, he verified that he'd picked up the right thing and stood, carrying it over and sitting on a large boulder.
"My question is," he murmured out loud to himself, "is why alien tech is disguised as a small oak chest."
Using his screwdriver, he opened the padlock and removed it from the latch before carefully lifting the lid. Inside were two envelopes.
He lifted the top one, peering at it in the light. His name was scrawled across the front and his hearts starting pounding again, hard, a split-second before he realised it was Rose's curly handwriting.
He turned the envelope over and opened it, pulling the folded letter out reverently. He set the envelope back in the box, unfolded the letter and began to read.
They say that there's no such thing as chance and no such thing as a "real" stranger. People are brought into our lives for a reason, to teach us something. We move toward the ones that will help us most; the ones we can help right back. I don't know if I believe that, but I know I believe in you. I am who I am because you were in my life.
The day you grabbed my hand, you changed the course of my life. You taught me a better way of living, Doctor. You taught me to not accept the status quo, to always try to be better and make those around me better and I can't thank you enough. You gave me a chance at being happy, even on the slow path, even when I'm not with you. I don't know if it makes me a better person, but I know I've been completely changed.
I know—I accept—that I'll never see you again. I've spent the last five years, almost, not able to move on. I'm embarrassed to admit just how much of a pathetic sob story I was. It was more, is more, than love, Doctor. I know I'll never see you again, but what you taught me in the years I spent with you is so much a part of who I am now. I'll always carry a piece of you with me, like a hand print on my heart. You've held it, my heart, since the first time, Doctor. That won't change, but I'm okay with that. Whichever path our lives take, you've rewritten the map my life follows, just like I know I've rewritten your own. You're my best mate, Doctor, my best friend and always will be. How can I live everyday without feeling the effect your words and your mind and your hearts had on me? Sometimes I sit at my desk at work and I picture you standing at my shoulder, smiling at me, proud of me. That's enough.
I want to apologise for everything I might have ever done. Whatever you might blame me for, whatever I ever did to make you upset, I want no bad air between us, so please forgive me if you need to. I hope you're proud of me, Doctor. I'm proud of you.
All that matters now is that I knew you and I loved you. Because I knew you, I've been changed for good. Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But I believe I have been, because of you.
Don't ever be alone, Doctor. And don't blame yourself.
I love you.
He reread it a second and a third time before finally pressing his lips to her name. He folded it carefully, sliding it back into the envelope and tucking it into his inside breast pocket. Looking in the box, he pulled out the other envelope, heavier than the first.
He opened it and peeked inside. He pulled out the folded slip of paper and a key fell into his lap.
Not just any key, he realised, picking it up and studying the faintly glowing bit of silver. Rose's TARDIS key. Holding it tightly in his left hand, he opened the slip of paper. Her handwriting was scrawled across the middle, just once sentence, and he grinned.
About time you did a scan for alien tech.
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