Part one: Grief
Rose sat there, her face in her hands, crying uncontrollably, huge sobs racking her body. He was gone. Gone. Just disappeared, just like that. Her Doctor. Forever.
"Quite right. And I suppose…it's my last chance to say it…Rose Tyler-"
Then, in front of her eyes, he'd disappeared. They had run out of time. Just the thought of what she'd come so close to having – the certainty that he loved her as she him – but had slipped away, cut through Rose like an icy knife. Fresh tears cascaded down her cheeks in a waterfall of misery. The van skidded down the uneven Norwegian road, winding its way home. But not to Rose. She only felt at home with the Doctor. Mickey had tried to comfort her, but she was totally inconsolable. She had lost the love of her life, and the wound ran deep and fresh. What wouldn't she give to be in his arms again, to feel his hot breath on her cheek, to slip her hand into his? Life was never going to be the same without him. Of course she could pretend it never happened, she could pretend she never met the strange man in Henrik's, was never attacked by dummies. She could pretend she never fell head over heels in love with him. Except she couldn't. It would have killed her to do it. He was as much a part of her as she him, and she couldn't ever forget him, no matter how much pain her memories brought her.
"Rose?" said a voice quietly in her ear, arousing her to her senses. Rose looked up into Jackie's concerned face. She knew she must look awful. Tears were still pouring down her face, however much she tried to stop. One person played on her mind – the Doctor. She saw him and her running, laughing. She could almost feel his hand in hers. She looked down, almost expecting him to be there, grinning, but saw only her own hand, which looked so empty. She sniffed, trying to force him out of her mind for half a second, and turned to face her mother.
"Yes?" she managed, still sobbing.
"Rose. Please calm down. You're gonna make yourself unwell." Jackie's own eyes were unusually bright too, out of sympathy and worry for her daughter. She had never seen her so distraught.
"I can't." Rose gulped "I loved him mum, and now he's gone. He never…he never got to, got to say…" Rose couldn't finish the sentence, but Jackie could guess. She didn't press her. Just put a comforting arm around her, as the van trundled off into Norway.
Three months later, Rose wasn't much better. She still cried herself to sleep every night, and had lost a lot of weight. She just wasn't hungry anymore. Nothing seemed to matter at the moment. She jumped every time someone mentioned the word "doctor" and just the sight of a banana made her feel ill. She remembered vividly the Doctor's obsession with them. Unfortunately, she still had to go to work. Every morning, Rose would drag herself out of bed in the morning, but her heart wasn't really in it. She felt like half of her was still in her world with the Doctor. She wished all of her was. Sitting there, now, staring blankly at a pile of reports on supposed alien sighting, Rose just wanted to go back to bed, and cry her eyes out over the Doctor, but she knew that was out of the question. She plucked unenthusiastically at the top paper, and read the title of it:
UFO sighting, near Cambridge.
Oh, sure, thought Rose. There was some fake UFO every week. Probably just some dustbin lid that's got blown away. Rose's heart ached for the real aliens, the real adventures…the real Doctor. She didn't want to be stuck in this stuffy building reading about student pranks. Before she'd met him, this place might've been bliss. But now, she'd rather be sat at home all day than this. As she imagined the Doctor's incredulous face if he could read some of these files, a single tear ran down her cheek. Before she knew it, the regular rivers of tears were once more pouring down her face. She needed the Doctor so bad.
Back in the other universe, the Doctor wasn't much better. His latest companion, Martha, was standing awkwardly on the other side of the room, watching him. He was poring over a picture in his hand. She couldn't see it clearly from here, but she could vaguely see a figure which could be him, and a blonde girl. It didn't take a genius to work out who the girl was. Martha knew it much be Rose. In spite of herself, she couldn't help but feel a slight pang of jealousy that he would never care about her like he did Rose. Rose was his everything, his reason for living. But her…she was just a friend. She wandered out of the room, and left him to it.
The Doctor stared longingly into the picture, as though wishing he could step inside it. It was of him and Rose, on the day they had defeated the Wire. Rose was holding his hand and laughing, her lovely blonde hair blowing about in the wind. Tommy was in the background, but the Doctor barely noticed him. All his attention was fixed on the young woman laughing by his side – forever. But they were apart. They could be in exactly the same place in their separate universes, but so, so far away. He remembered what she had said on the beach that day:
I love you
He had meant to tell her the same, that he loved her so much he would do anything for her, anything at all, just so he could have her, his Rose. She was his reason for living, she was why he carried on, she was the thing that stopped him going crazy over all the people he'd seen die. But now he'd lost her, too, and his hearts ached for her. A tear rolled down his cheek. His brushed it away, but another followed, and another. It was stupid, he knew, for letting himself fall in love with Rose in the first place, for letting himself get so attached to her. But he had, and she was so much a part of him now that he would never, ever forget her.
"Oh Rose." he whispered "I wish you were here. I love you, I love you. Why oh why did we have to be separated? I love you so much. Oh Rose"
He sniffed, and shook himself mentally. He had to get on with life, he had to. Rose was gone, like it or loathe it and she was never coming back. It stung though. The wound of Rose going was still raw and fresh, and just the thought that he would never see her again seared through him. It would have hurt less had he stuck a knife through his chest. He sighed. The Doctor was clever enough to realise that pushing Rose out of his mind would just cause more pain. He let her float to the forefront of his mind, and wandered through to the kitchen. Martha was sitting there quietly, eating. She looked up when he entered. The Doctor sat down and begun to eat, too. Martha surveyed him.
"You miss her." she said, her voice barely above a whisper. "Rose. I know you do. I can tell." The Doctor looked at his friend closely. She was a smart on, that one, he had been right. He felt his eyes fill with tears, and slowly nodded.
"Yeah, I do." His voice cracked, and he turned away, not wanting Martha to see him upset. She had enough to cope with, poor kid. She didn't show it, but he knew how she must feel, being second – best to Rose. He was truly sorry; but couldn't change how he felt about Rose, and wouldn't if he could. All he wanted was Rose. Not money or control of the universe. Just one woman, in the whole world. Surely that wasn't too much to ask?
Rose rubbed her eyes blearily, and stretched. Her whole bedroom swam into focus - the lava lamp glowing softly on her bedside table. The white curtains swaying in the breeze drifting in through her bedroom window, which she had forgotten to close the night before. But best of all was the little tattered photograph that hung limply on the wardrobe. Rose got up and took it down. She examined it, drinking in the Doctor's lovely features almost feeling the wind in her hair, and his hand clasped in hers. She knew he had a copy of the very same pictures, and was sure that he treasured it like she did hers. Swallowing, Rose re – blu tacked the picture onto the door. She collected her warm, fluffy pink towel, and carried it through to the bathroom.
About 15 minutes later, Rose emerged from the bathroom, fully dressed, water streaming from her fair hair. She bumped into her mother on the way back to her room, showering Jackie with water droplets.
"Oh hi mum…sorry" Rose tucked a few stray locks securely behind her ear, and tried to smile – she had almost forgotten how. She suddenly remembered the Doctor's own heart stopping grin which he used; the one which made her want to take him up against the nearest wall and snog him, but sadly she had never followed that impulse. She wished she had now. Jackie had clearly noticed the faraway dreamy look on Rose's face, and was slightly taken aback.
"You ok sweetheart? What you thinking about?"
"Oh…just stuff, you know…" Rose let her voice trail away, and walked back into her bedroom, clutching her towel to her chest. She grabbed a pile of files from her bedside table, and rushed down the stairs. She caught her foot on the second from last stair. Her ankle twisted, and a white hot pain shot through it as she landed, spread eagled on the carpet. Rose found that she had tears forming in her eyes, but it had nothing to do with the pain. She sat there on the floor, papers scattered everywhere. Rose scrambled to her feet to pick them up, but soon found that her ankle didn't support her weight. She groaned, as she crumpled onto the floor. A few tears crept silently down her cheeks. Rose wiped them away angrily, reaching for the nearest paper. She shoved it unceremoniously into the plastic file, and then stretched her fingers towards the next. Gradually, the mass of paper thinned. Rose wondered how long it would be until someone actually realised she was sitting on the floor, ankle sprained. She knew the Doctor would have realised within seconds, but then that was his thing. He noticed strange things, or if people were missing. It was then Rose realised why she was crying. It wasn't that her ankle was hurting – which it was, a lot – but that the Doctor wasn't there to comfort her, to hold her, and to tell her that everything would be alright. But he wasn't, so Rose hauled herself onto her hands and knees, and crawled through to the kitchen, where Jackie was humming tunelessly. Her mother looked up as she entered on all fours.
"Rose! What are you doing down there?" Seeing Rose's slightly red eyes, Jackie stopped "Are you okay?" her voice, as it so often was these days, was full of concern.
"Yeah, fine." Rose lied " I'm just getting off to work, see ya later" She once more attempted to stand, but failed. "Oh, crap!" Rose muttered under her breath, feeling her eyes fill with tears again. She rubbed them furiously, determined not to start crying again in front of her mother. Jackie had enough to cope with, what with Rose's rowdy little sister, Gabby, she didn't need Rose herself crying on her again. Rose swallowed, and looked at her, trying to act like the tears were just because of the pain. She touched her ankle gingerly, and flinched. "I fell down the stairs." She admitted, sniffing. And I don' t know how I'm gonna get to work like this."
Because of her ankle, Rose arrived at work an hour late, to find her office empty. Soft music was playing in the background, and the perpetual drone of the computers filled the room as usual, but that aside, it was silent. With nothing else to do, Rose sat down, and listened to the music absent mindedly.
So far away
I wish you were here
Before it's too late, this could all disappear
Before the doors close
And it comes to an end
With you by my side I will fight and defend
Rose suddenly felt very sick. She jumped out of her seat and turned the music off. It reminded her too much of her own experiences for comfort. As Rose returned to her seat, breathing hard, she noticed a note tacked to her machine:
Rose: We've all gone to a meeting, room 311. Where were you this morning? See you later.
It took Rose a couple of seconds to finish reading the note, and as soon as she had done so, she jumped out of her chair again as though scalded. A meeting…she had forgotten. There'd been so many things on her mind lately (namely the Doctor). Rose couldn't believe she had forgotten that. Perhaps the final real alien activity that had been going on since she came to this place, and she had to forget to go to the meeting discussing it. Sprinting down the corridor, Rose counted doors. 287, 301, 309…311. She burst inside, and looked around. All her colleagues were seated in a large circle, some official looking documents scattered on the tables between them. Every single person was staring at her.
"Sorry I'm late." She said, her cheeks flushing slightly pink. She slunk into a chair next to Mickey.
"What's going on?"
"Oh, just some alien has made its way into this universe, killing people, the usual. Wants to take over the universe probably." he caught Rose gaping at him "What?"
"An alien's made its way into this universe?" Rose repeated
"Definitely? 'Cause that means there must be a gap…"
Rose paid little attention to the rest of the meeting. One thought ran through her grief ridden brain – he can come back!