A Net To Catch My Fall
He wishes he would die.
He's wished it for such a long time.
He doesn't expect happiness to come from it; just an end to everything else.
It started with the war. He was supposed to die then, along with everyone else. Every soldier. Every man, woman and child from every side to be wiped out. The fighting over; replaced by a clean slate.
Instead he was left behind, so he moved on. He was careless with the Nestene Consciousness, perhaps on purpose. He knew what it's answer would be when he told it to leave. It would have been so easy then to just tip over the edge, anti-plastic in hand. It was the closest he could get to dying a hero like the Council had said he would.
He was ready to die when they faced the Gelth. When Rose was frightened he tried to cheer her by rambling off the places he'd been and the things he'd done. And when she'd sworn to go down fighting, for a moment he remembered what it felt like to want to stay alive.
He had no problem with blowing up 10 Downing Street with him inside, but it seemed awfully selfish to do it with Rose there as well. When she agreed to his plan he was ready, and when she found a way to survive, all he could do was return the trust she'd given him.
He gave his life willingly in the church. All that talk about fathers and daughters and family. Happy everyday moments on a street corner. It reminded him again of who he was, and that no matter how many times he came, Earth was not his planet, and he didn't belong.
"Go to your room" really would have been terrible last words, and for once he was happy when salvation came, only because that wasn't death. Becoming some gas mask zombie was hardly an end to things. But when Jack chose to destroy the ship with himself inside he'd have taken his place gladly if Rose had had a way home.
He would have jumped in front of Rose before she was disintegrated on the Game Station, even without knowing it was a transmat. It didn't seem fair for someone so young and full of life to go while he remained. Old. Constant. Stagnant. It should have been him and now he had the chance.
Now he was ready.
She had shown him life and love and now she was gone; safe in her own time. He'd be killed, exterminated, and that was okay. It was about time anyway.
And little Rose Tyler who worked to keep him alive and fighting every day (whether she knew it or not), would sit at home, and get on with her life, believing he gave himself to save the world and save her. She wouldn't have to live on knowing he'd been weak in the end. Took the cowards way out and gave up on life.
He rests his hands on the lever and something the Dalek Emperor says rings in his mind. Coward... He steps away, not quite ready to go through the whole genocide thing again. And who knows, with his luck the delta wave would hit and he'd wake up in a new body, left again alone with the guilt. No way off the satellite. No running away through time.
And then he hears it. Turns and sees his salvation, bathed in a glowing light, tears streaming down her cheeks, and for the first time in as long as he can remember, he's happy to be alive. To feel the love and emotion pouring out of this young girl, this woman, who dared to care that much. Who has come to save him. To wipe out his worst nightmares and save him from himself.
And as he kisses her and holds her to him, he can feel that he has saved her. She'll move on and survive. His body won't and he hopes whoever he turns into, he'll be worthy of her. He does his best to tell her this, but he's fumbling and joking about dogs with no noses, and she doesn't understand. Oh well, he'll just explain things when it's over as usual.
He takes a moment, his last breaths, to tell her what she meant to him, and how much she changed his life. She smiles, and when the shimmering light shoots through him, he's more than happy to die.