The Doctor gradually made his way through Canary Warf. He opted for the stairs instead of the lift this time and a thought about taking the slow path crossed his mind.
Down 45 flights, right, left, straight down the corridor, through the double doors and into the hangar where the TARDIS had been moved. He hesitated only briefly before sliding his key into the lock and stepping inside.
He strode directly to the console, setting in coordinates without his usual manic theatrics, and watched the rotor glide up and down as the TARDIS dematerialized, reappearing moments later in one of the few spots in the universe that he'd parked it on a regular basis.
The Powell Estate.
He scoffed when he realized where he was. He hadn't exactly been paying attention to what his hands were doing a moment ago.
There weren't any people running and screaming, but there were still scorch marks on the walls of the courtyard, so not much time had passed since the war... invasion... occupation... whatever…
He made his way towards a chain link fence, flowers, ribbon and papers interweaved through the links. Dozens of photos, poems and pleas were scattered across it. In the center was a plain, nondescript piece of A4 with a typed list. Simple letters in Times New Roman font, drawn together in the most painful way possible.
A list of the dead.
He scanned the list, his finger trailing just below his eye level. No Mickey Smith... he mused. Probably declared missing long enough ago for no one to have thought to add him.
He winced when he came to the name Tyler, Jacqueline. He swallowed hard and hesitated, his finger blocking the next name from view before he slowly slid it down.
He hissed in a breath and stepped back.
He'd intended to head straight for the TARDIS, but found himself heading for the familiar staircase of Jackie's building. He took the steps two at a time and trotted to their door, opening it with the sonic screwdriver, and stepped inside, relieved the see it wasn't occupied by some new family yet. No, everything was still the same. For once, time was on his side.
He walked through the entryway, nearly tripping on Rose's backpack of laundry and gifts for friends and family. He could recall her asking which of the trinkets she'd found in a shopping center on Taresh looked the most Scottish, since technically she had been there so she'd be using it as her latest story.
He made his way into the kitchen and stared at the dishes in the sink, picking up a mug. Rose had been drinking a cup of tea, just before they left. He swirled the remaining bit of liquid for a moment before pouring it into the drain.
He shouldn't be here, he realized suddenly. Staring at cups of tea and bags of dirty clothes. Shouldn't have come at all really.
Despite himself, he made his way to Rose's room, in all it's bright pink glory. There was little she still kept here, but there had to be something. One single item to hold on to. Her room on the TARDIS was full of things like that, he knew, but he had no intention of going in there.
He settled on a keychain he'd spotted on her dresser. Cheap plastic on a metal ring, the type of trinket you get at an amusement park. Slipped inside was a picture of Rose, probably 15 or so at the type, with chestnut brown hair and a chipmunk smile. Next to her was a girl he just about recognized as Shireen.
He stuck the keychain in his pocket and turned to leave but found himself walking into Jackie's room instead. There was her dressing gown, the same one she'd been wearing when he first met her. Half a dozen photo frames, including one with a photo of Pete tucked behind, nearly hidden from view. An assortment of clothes, jewelry, makeup. An unopened pack of scented candles. A box of brushes, combs and various hair styling products. So much ...stuff, gathered in one lifetime, for what? To be packed in a box and sent to some distant relative who will keep it in storage until no one remembers it's there because it just seems a shame to throw it out?
He grabbed a silver necklace he seems to recall her wearing at Christmas and walked out of the apartment as fast as he could. On his way down the steps he caught to eye of one of the two elderly sisters who live together on the second floor. He'd seen them a few times before and Rose always took a moment to say hi to them on their way up.
The woman gave him a small, reassuring smile that he couldn't quite return. Judging by the look on her face, she knew about Rose and at least had an idea of why he was there. As he passed by, she reached out to squeeze his arm briefly, just a short moment of contact that nearly stopped him. He turned to her, not bothering to hide the morose look on his face, then turned away and finished making his way down to the ground floor exit.
Back across the estate to the TARDIS, and as he slid his key into the lock it occurred to him that she'd never be parked here again. A breeze began to blow slightly as he looked for a long moment before stepping inside.
The wind picked up even stronger as the TARDIS began to fade and a sharp, piercing noise echoed across the Powell estate for the last time.