-1Forever

Author's Notes:

Written for a challenge. They wanted:

An alternative version of the conversation The Doctor and Rose share when Rose tells him "I made my choice a long time ago and i'm never gonna leave you!"

Mention of the time war and past companions

Rose declares her love for The Doctor

"I made my choice a long time ago and I'm never gonna leave you." Rose watches him nervously. His brows are knit tightly together, his lips terse, and she wonders if he'll try to send her back again. She can feel his fingers digging tighter into her shoulders as she glances at his lips, expecting him to say No and send her off. For a moment she contemplates just saying something quickly before her can. An offer to help or some other such thing to cut him off, but that's not what she wants to say right now. Not what she wants to tell him.

Rose steels herself and finally she says it. "I love you."

To be honest, Rose never would have guessed that he could actually look angrier at her than he already did, but there it was. His eyes widen while his eyebrows dig lower and his jaw clenches. Not the reaction she had been expecting and a far cry from what she was hoping for.

Systems rebooting. Open access.

The Doctor stares at her a second longer, then lets her go roughly, pointing across the room. "Those coordinates over there. Set them all to six."

Rose blinks, then makes her way over to the computer, flinching when he nearly growls at her to hurry up. She wonders how he'd react if she called him on his aggressive behavior, telling him she should just leave after all, but the fear of his agreeing with her weighs heavier than her anger with him. Just in case she removes the yellow button from around her neck and sets it to the side.

There are already Cybermen on the way when they get everything ready to go, and for the first time Rose worries about whether or not they'll be successful.

Levers operational.

The Doctor grins and finally Rose can feel things lightening between them. She can't help playfully teasing him about his change in mood.

"That's more like it. Bit of a smile. The old team…"

"Hope and Glory. Mutt and Jeff. Shiver and Shake!"

She smiles and jokes with him while they set up the magnaclamps and run through the plan once more. He tells her to hold on tight and she agrees. After everything else they've been through, this part should be easy, right? Together they lift the levers and grab onto the clamps, holding tightly as the breach opens.

Online.

The pull is strong. Far stronger than she expected and already she can see Dalek's flying past them to be sucked in. There goes the Genesis Ark. Gone forever. Rose looks over to the Doctor with a smile on her face because the plan is working and they've done it again but he doesn't share the look. He's just staring at the opening, teeth gritted.

Suddenly there are sparks jumping up to the right of her. The Doctor looks up with alarm and they both watch as the lever shifts down.

Offline.

And that's it. The one thing they could finally smile about after he refused to let her stay and she refused to listen. If this doesn't work there's nothing more they can do and they'll be stuck in a world full of Daleks and Cybermen while the rest of her family stays on the other side.

She'll still be with the Doctor, but he'll be broken again. Filled with guilt, like when she first met him, and chances are they won't survive more than a few minutes anyway.

So she let's go and nearly gets pulled right past the lever. She grabs onto it and pushes with all her strength, the wind and strength of the void working against her while her feet scramble against the vinyl tiled floor, struggling to push it upright. She looks to the Doctor, his face hiding none of his fear, and gives one last desperate shove.

Online and locked.

What she wasn't prepared for was the increase in strength that would result from having both levers locked in place. Almost instantly she's pulled back, her entire body flying in the air as she clings to the lever. Her palms are sweaty and there's little to grip on to. She can barely hear the Doctor screaming for her to hold on as Dalek's whiz past her head, the sound of the vacuum filling her ears.

He's reaching out for her and she wants nothing more than to take his hand and find safety in it like she always does. If only he were closer. If she was a bit stronger she might be able to hold on. To reach out.

She's slipping and she hears him call out her name. A desperate plea that carries out above everything else and she knows there's no way she can let this happen. She promised she'd never leave him and she meant it, and she knows what it means for him to believe her. After everything he's told her. The people he's lost and the knowledge that no one can ever stay with him forever no matter how many times she says it.

She simply can't break her promise now.

Her hands lose their grip but she manages to catch on to the wiring that extends from the handle with a few fingers. She holds herself there for a minute, the wire starting to loosen, then slips again. She can hear a strange ripping noise behind her and ahead of her she can hear screaming but she's not sure if it's her own or the Doctor's.

Forever.

That's what she promised him. Every time he dared to ask, to reassure himself that he wouldn't turn around one day to find her gone. He told her he was cursed and she was foolish enough to think she could fix that. What had she been thinking? So many had come before her and none of them could avoid the inevitable. Not even another Time Lord. Well, Time Lady from what she can recall of his telling her. Even she left him eventually. The one person he'd traveled with who had any hope of a true forever and she'd left by her own choosing.

She feels pain first. Something blindsides her on the back of her head and all there is darkness, and then a voice.

Systems closed.

She blinks rapidly, her vision slowly coming back to her as it registers that she's slammed into the wall and now seems to be on the floor. There are footsteps and then she's being tossed around, or moved, or rolled over, or something but there's the Doctor, looking down at her, panic in his eyes and a huge grin on his face. All she can think to do is ask.

"Did we do it?"

He clutches her to his chest, nearly knocking the wind from her. They remain that way for a while, the room filled with a hauntingly eerie silence. Suddenly he releases her, pulling back so he can look at her.

"What were you thinking, letting go?!"

Rose shrinks inwardly, for the first time in as long as she can remember not knowing what to say to him. It's not supposed to go this way. Not ever. They fight the bad guys, do what has to be done, usually getting split up in the process, and it all ends with hugs and smiles and maybe a cheer or two.

"You could have been killed! Or worse! What if the void hadn't closed? You'd be sucked in, drifting in nothingness and hell for eternity. Never dying, never living. Eternity Rose! You have no idea what that's like." He face grows solemn and he pauses to stare at her for a moment before continuing, his anger flaring back up.

"And do you think I'd just run on in to rescue you? Because it doesn't work that way. I can't always charge in to fix the mistakes you make! You knew that! That's why I sent you away! That's why I couldn't let you stay here. Why couldn't you just listen?!"

Rose feels herself crying but she can't help it. The gritted look of anger on the Doctor's face had broken, replaced by something else entirely.

"You could have died." He hisses out, his breath shaky. "And there's nothing I could have done." He looks to her for understanding and in Rose's inferior mind she thinks he finds it. All she can do is reassure him, because the truth is, there is no future for them. No matter how long she stays it'll be an insignificant amount of time for him. All they have is the here and now.

"I didn't." She tells him, reaching up to cup his cheek. He grabs her hand and holds it in his, studying it for a while before looking up and smiling, the gesture not quite reaching his eyes.

"I know. You, Rose Tyler, are incredibly hard to get rid of." He chuckles lightly and Rose can't help but laugh.

"So you're not mad?"

The Doctor grins, a true full on smile this time, and she feels a wash of relief. "I picked up two of those clamps, didn't I?" He lets out a bitter laugh. "I knew you'd try something like this. Least it didn't involve butchering my poor ship this time."

Rose knew she was staring at him dumbly but she couldn't help it. She was at a loss again as to what to say or do. She hadn't even realized. Finally she let herself smile, because if anything they've always been able to laugh together in the face of danger or pain.

"Yeah. Maybe you'll stop trying to play hero, sending me off like that..." She knows he won't. No matter how many times they go through this, he'll always try to send her home. But maybe, now that that's no longer an option, he'll realize.

"I meant what I said... earlier" She tells him, biting her lower lip worryingly. He never did respond to her confession.

"I know." He's staring at her, into her, through her, and this time she really does understand. He won't say it. Can't. But deep down she knows how much he cares for her. He proven it time and again, that he'd do anything for her, even if it means losing her to save her.

She nods and shifts out from underneath him, then stands and offers him her hand. 'Come on. Let's go home."

A pained look crosses his face and she knows he's thinking of her Mum and Mickey. She smiles and cuts him off before he can say anything. "I made my choice a long time ago and I'm never gonna leave you. The TARDIS is my home now. And it's gonna stay that way. Forever."

So he smiles, takes her hand and holds onto it as they walk away, both pretending that they believe in forever.