Title: Those Tomorrows (1/1)
Pairing: 10/Rose, if you squint.
Rating: Disgustingly G.
Spoilers: Doomsday. Boy, I'm depressing lately.
Disclaimer: David's no longer on backorder. In fact, I got an email yesterday saying he's shipped and on his way!
A/N: Dedicated to and thanks to my lovely best friend and beta, le-merle-noir. She sorta had to poke and prod me through this one.
Summary: After all, tomorrows were possibilities and possibilities were hope. Hope was believing in Rose Marion Tyler.


Those Tomorrows

The Doctor looked up and studied his companion when she appeared in the doorway.

Given the mood he was in, the only thing she had going for her was that her eyes were brown. And even those were wrong.

"I'm going to…lay down for a bit. Okay?" A small grin creased her pretty face and the Doctor returned one in kind. "I'm sort of worn out."

The Doctor raised his eyebrows, his grin growing as pink tinged her cocoa-coloured cheeks.

"That's not what I meant."

"It isn't my fault you propositioned Attila the Hun." He grinned, his first face-splitting grin in a long time. "Attila the Hunny."

"Oh, shut up, you." With a wave, Martha disappeared into the corridor once more and the Doctor immediately let the smile drop from his face. Sometimes his smiles were so fake, his cheeks ached. And he didn't know how Martha didn't notice.

He moved aside the papers he'd automatically slapped down when he'd heard her steps on the grating and looked down at the picture he kept there.

It was random and at the moment, had been anything but special, but now the Doctor was relatively assured he'd trade every possession he owned for that one scrap of resin-coated photographic paper.

He picked up the 5x7 print, careful to keep his fingers to the edges, studying it. It wasn't even a multi-picture from Retanda. He had dozens of those of her, each piece of paper holding dozens of pictures apiece.

It was a plain, corner-shop, one hour print.

He lightly brushed his thumb over Picture-Rose's hair. It was right before she'd gotten it cut—chopped off, in his opinion—and was loose. Most was hanging down, but he remembered the wind picking up…

The Doctor settled behind Rose, mimicking her posture and sitting astride the park bench. He wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tight.

"You about ready to leave?"

"Had about all you can of domesticity, have you?" Her eyebrows were raised when he turned to look at her, but there was a laugh in her voice that he couldn't help but respond to. He grinned, tugging gently on a strand of her hair.

"You know me too well."

"One more night, then? Leave in the morning?" The Doctor nodded and looked up, noticed Jackie fairly skipping toward them across the recreation ground.

"Oh, what's your mother up to now?"

"Oi! She's put up with your antics the last two weeks, you be polite." This time she was out and out laughing and he hugged her tight.

"Oh, me, I love your mother. Makes a stellar cuppa." Rose snorted and the Doctor disentangled himself from her, starting to rise.

"No! Stay there! I want a picture of the two of you, I don't have any."

"Jackie—"

"C'mon, Doctor, just the one!" Jackie paused at the end of the bench, pulling one of those pre-packaged camera affairs from her sweatshirt pocket. Heaving a huge sigh, not entirely serious, the Doctor settled down behind Rose again.

"I don't like pictures being taken of me, Jackie."

"Just the one, Doctor." He looked down to see Rose smiling up at him and against his better judgement, he smiled back. His hearts began to thump a little harder as his body realized their close proximity, his long arms snaking around her waist even as his brain was fighting them. If he just leaned a little closer…the breeze chose that moment to pick up and the Doctor was suddenly assaulted with a mouthful of Rose's long hair.

"Oi, I could do with less of your hair in my mouth." He extracted her hair from his face and she burst out laughing, turning to look at him again and pulling her hair around the opposite side of her neck. He studied her laughing face for a minute before feeling the huge smile cross his own.

When the tear hit the picture, he quickly used his sleeve to wipe it off before scrubbing his hands over his face.

90 of the time, he was fine. 95, even.

But it was times like these, after saving some random, insignificant little world with Martha, as he'd done so, so many times with Rose, that he thought of her.

When they were returning back to the TARDIS, he was fine.

Even when they stood in the console room, speaking about what had transpired or about any asinine old thing, he was fine.

But when Martha had gone off to do her own thing—something else different from Rose, in his never-ending tally—and the TARDIS dimmed her lights, whether to simulate night or in grief, he wasn't sure, he couldn't hide from it anymore.

Rose had once asked why he ran so much, so often.

"How can you see the world when all you do is pass it by?"

At the moment, he couldn't, or hadn't wanted to, think about it. But he knew now that he was running from the past.

His past and all those he'd left behind. The companions he'd left behind, those that had died.

He knew, in his head, that it was better this way. Rose could live, thrive, with her family and grow to a ripe old age, have a family of her own, share her stories. But then that nasty little voice spoke up.

Without you.

It was true, what he'd told her, after she'd met Sarah Jane. She could spend her life with him, but he couldn't spend his with her. And it was easier to close himself off from all aspects of love than to know he was subjecting himself to a lifetime of grief and sorrow and heartbreak by letting himself love her.

What he hadn't realized, at the time, was that he was already in love with her and had been for a long time. He'd readily acknowledged his love for her to anyone that had asked, simply because it was true.

She was his best mate. More than that. Not his lover, but only as far as sex was concerned. She already had every part of him except the physical and he knew she never would've asked for it. Humans placed too much value on sex as it was.

He knew now that he'd been stupid and he should've taken everything she was willing to offer, but then again hindsight was 20/20.

He loosened his tie and shrugged out of his jacket, tossing it over the back of his chair and extracting the sonic screwdriver from his jacket pocket. Holding it between his teeth, he hoisted the grate as quietly as he could before climbing below to tinker.

It would be better if she were dead. He winced, even as the words were forming, his fingers stumbling and almost dropping the screwdriver.

It was a horrible, selfish, nasty thing to say, but he couldn't help it. If she'd died, he could've moved on. No one, not even his wife, had ever affected him this way and he knew it was because he didn't have closure.

He'd seen Sarah Jane shortly after Rose had been taken from him and he'd taken her advice and had sought Rose to say goodbye. Sarah Jane said it was easier on them when he said goodbye.

It'd only made it worse. If he hadn't set about finding her, he could've pretended to himself that Rose and Pete had been killed.

Even that little bond…that little link, in his mind, that always let him know when Rose was around or that she was there was gone.

Apparently telepathic links weren't transdimensional.

Sighing, he rubbed his arm across his eyes before adjusting the setting on the screwdriver and scooting a little closer to the central console.

One thing he definitely missed was the company. Martha was intelligent, incredibly intelligent, but she was also jaded.

He wasn't sure what it said about him, but he'd liked showing off in front of Rose, liked showing her things that she could only just begin to understand.

Martha was almost jaded enough to be cynical and while he generally didn't mind that, he thrived on having hope.

Because if he didn't have hope, then he was lost.

But no, if he was honest with himself, it wasn't even the quality of the company he missed, but the quantity.

Rose had been around so much as to almost be a pest, though he'd never think that now. Sometimes she was constantly underfoot, but unless she was sleeping, showering, sick or on a rare moment wanted to be alone, she was always keeping him company. Whether it was helping him tinker or sitting by and watching him, or sitting with him in the library or the kitchen with a cup of tea, she was always there.

And her tea.

The Doctor had to congratulate Jackie on one thing and that was that she'd raised her daughter knowing how to make a fine cup of tea.

And now she was making tea again for Mr. Mickey, or maybe someone new entirely. Rose had always been pretty, beautiful even, with no shortage of admirers. It wasn't unreasonable to think she'd moved on. The generous part of him hoped she had, even. He hated to think of her wasting away over there without him.

He frowned. He wasn't sure why he assumed she would be. He'd always…hoped. He knew how he felt about her. He'd hoped she'd felt the same, even if he'd resolved never to act on his feelings. The 900-year-plus age difference aside, the type of lifestyle they led was too hard on personal feelings and intimate relationships. Their current situation proved that.

But would he hurt any less if he'd given in to that voice? That nagging voice that lived just behind his left ear, always tempting him whenever Rose was around, that voice that he'd given into only once and only in the exchange of his life for hers.

He would find her someday. He hoped. He always had hope. Even faced with the impossible—and when wasn't he?—he always had hope.

After all, tomorrows were possibilities and possibilities were hope. Hope was believing in Rose Marion Tyler.

And if he believed in anything, he believed in her.

fin


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