Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who, the BBC does. Anything you recognise, I don't own. I own the names and the original characters later on.
A/N:This has been re–written and reposted on 20/10/07. I would like to say thank you especially to 'moonbean', 'cookiemonster01' and 'Teh Shiny Fox' for their constructive criticism and their help to make this a better fic.
"Be careful, Rose," Jackie said, as usual. Rose grinned and rolled her eyes.
"I will Mum," she answered as she slung her backpack over her shoulders. She hugged her tightly, then stepped back to the Doctor's side.
"You better take good care o' her, or you'll have me to answer to!" Jackie warned, half–glaring at him with her hands on her hips. He nodded and bore the resultant embrace silently.
"Always," he promised quietly. Jackie looked satisfied. She turned to kiss Rose's cheek before seeing them out of her flat.
"So where're we going?" Rose asked as they made their way down to the courtyard, a happy bounce to her step. The Doctor sighed heavily. His hands were deep in his pockets, a slight frown on his face and his eyes downcast. He glanced up at her briefly before fishing the TARDIS key out from his pocket.
"I dunno…" he shrugged as they stepped into the TARDIS. "Anywhere, 'suppose," He wandered up to the console, silent, as Rose dropped her backpack full of fresh clothes to the grilles.
"What 'bout Barcelona? Still ain't taken me there yet. What about there?" she turned back round, and leant on the console next to him, smiling up at him. He sighed again and pushed himself up.
"Sure…" he said as he reached across to pull levers and push buttons to get the TARDIS in flight. Rose frowned as she watched him closely.
"Wait. Doctor, what's wrong?" she stopped his hands. Almost immediately he looked away and gently removed his hands from her grasp.
"It's nothing," the blue glow of the TARDIS and the lack of conviction in his voice emphasised the miserable expression etched onto his face.
"Doctor its obvious there's somethin' wrong. You've been miserable all day– I know you don't like visiting Mum but you're not usually this miserable!" she said, wanting him to smile, but all she received was a half–hearted twitch of his lips.
"Y'can tell me can't you? Come on, we always talk…" he sighed again and stuffed his hands into his pockets.
"D'you know what it feels like to lose everyone you've ever loved? Knowing it's your fault?" she shook her head, her expression uncomfortable.
"I've searched and I've searched but I can't find them… can't feel them either… Don't wanna believe I'm the last… today it's– it's hard… harder than usual… today it's– it's my… ohh…" he shook his head exasperatedly. Forlornly he wandered round the other side of the console.
"It's your what?" Rose pressed lightly.
"… It's my eldest daughter's birthday…" he whispered, barely audible over the hum of the TARDIS. Her eyebrows shot up, disbelief stamped across her features.
"…That's what you meant… the other day… you –you said– I thought I misheard you… oh…" she swallowed awkwardly as she saw the Doctor stiffen slightly. She noticed guiltily his eyes fixed determinedly over her shoulder, now slightly brighter than usual.
"I'm so sorry… I –I shouldn't've kept asking–"
"Nah, s'ok… faced it so may times, y'woulda thought I'd be able to forget…" he shrugged one shoulder. He tried to smile as she hurried round to hug him tightly.
"She would've been 1,000 today– relative to my time, I mean… I've missed all of their birthdays– whoa!" they were thrown suddenly as the time machine bucked sharply. They clung to the console tightly. The Doctor desperately tried to press every flashing button in sight to try and calm the TARDIS.
After a few tense moments the fierce movements died down. Rose sighed with relief as he turned round to face her, a half–hearted grin on his lips.
"Well, that wasn't meant to happen," he commented good–naturedly. "Let's see if we've landed on Barcelona, eh?" she nodded and followed him to the TARDIS doors. She slipped her hand into his comfortingly and smiled up at him. There was a slight pause in which he smiled in return, his eyes warm and grateful. He gave her hand a gentle squeeze, then pushed the door open.