Fake and Forced.

A/N: Difficult for me to write for, well, reasons, but you know what it's like when the plot bunnies start gnawing away at your brain… different from a usual Rose. One of two fics I uploaded on Teaspoon and forgot to upload on here (sorryyy) so beware. The angst is high in both, sorry again!

Warning: Self harm – nothing too graphic though.

Rose sat at her desk in her room at Pete's mansion, and weighed up the pair of black scissors in her hand. It had been a year since Norway, a year since she'd seen him, a year since every ounce of hope had left her body and mind.

Everyone told her that after a loss, it got easier after time, and every time she retorted that time was relative, although not quite knowing if she was right or not.

It got easier to start with, granted, but after the third month, she felt everything going downhill. The apparently slightly less depressed – rather than happy – Rose was beginning to die, but not wanting to spoil everything, particularly with her mother pregnant, and not wanting to let everyone know she was failing; she pretended.

The smile she tried to wear on a daily basis, although not quite reaching her eyes – fake and forced.

Her laugh; just bubbly enough to pass as her laugh although not as vibrant as it used to be – fake and forced.

The act that she put on that she was alright, that she was coping, that she was moving on past that summer – fake and forced.

But Rose was smart, she realised that that old act was failing after a month or two, so she did the one thing she could think of; and reinvented parts of herself.

She made herself braver and stronger, pushing things and people away, She forced herself to do everything, and succeed, and if anyone asked why she was a bit different, she blamed it on getting used to domestic life again, and making herself fit into a world she didn't belong, carving out a space for herself in a universe without the Doctor.

And, to an extent, this worked. Occasionally, a smile wasn't fake and forced, but was new and different. Same with her laugh, and so the new Rose Tyler was born.

But sat there at her desk right now, holding the scissors tight in her left hand, 'New Rose' didn't exist, but neither did the old one. The Rose Tyler as the Doctor knew her would never have considered this. She was stronger than that, braver, things that she knew the Doctor had loved in her.

It was almost as though she was caught in limbo, stuck in the void if you will, between two Roses, neither fitting her current state of mind, neither strong enough, or real enough to pull her out, neither with the hope she needed.

She opened the scissors and held them hard in her left hand, while holding out her right arm, fist clenched. Taking a deep breath, she ran the blade across her wrist. She closed her eyes and let out a small sound of shocked pain, as she felt the sharp blade digging into her skin at her own hands.

She opened her eyes and looked at the red mark on her arm. A deep white cut was edged into her now red skin, and it was slowly growing a deep red as blood trickled into it. She took another breath, and ran the blade across the exact same mark causing the blood to come through quicker.

She put the scissors down and looked curiously at the cut across her wrist, and she started to laugh, a quiet hysterical laugh, as she realised what she'd done. But she was quietly horrified as how easy it was for her to do, especially as she'd always thought she was stronger, and not a coward, but was equally horrified at how she felt. She felt… relieved, stronger perhaps, and not at all guilty, something she thought she might have done.

And so it became routine. On a day where things got too tough, or her thoughts were plagued with memories it hurt to remember, she grabbed the scissors, and made a few cuts, relieving her tension. Never deep enough to spurt blood, or scar too permanently, and always in the same place, the inch or so that she knew her watch would cover so no questions would be asked.

But she told no one, causing herself more troubles, so the cutting became more frequent, yet she felt untroubled by her actual actions.

Until he came.

He got through the void, three years after he told her it was impossible. And as he held her close, and she wrapped her arms around him, she wept into his chest, she told him she was sorry, as he told her, she told him over and over, never why, just sorry, feeling she'd let him down by failing at having the fantastic life he once implored her to have. Apologising for the way she'd let herself become without him, and apologising for not being Rose, and for not being there.