A/N) And as promised here is the final chapter to my epic, 'Choices'. Enjoy!
All was quiet in the TARDIS as the Doctor walked around the console. He had showered and changed his suit before taking Jack back to Cardiff, but now he was waiting for the return of his companion Martha who was with her family. He had parked the TARDIS outside her parent's house. He looked around his TARDIS, the damage that had been done by the Master had been un-made when Jack had destroyed the paradox machine. He had missed her since that day he had been forced to watch as the Master transformed her, but now his soul was complete for the TARDIS had been returned to him.
He sat on the pilot's chair, feet up on the console, hands behind his head and thought back over his imprisonment. Yes, he had been scarred and deeply hurt by the Master, but he would heal in time. After all he had Martha and Rose to help him through this.
Even as he thought of them and what they had achieved, Martha opened the doors and stepped inside. She wore her custom red jacket and jeans, her black hair loose about her shoulders. She smiled warmly at him, but it was one that told him she was the bringer of bad news.
"What is it?" he asked.
"I can't stay with you, Doctor," said Martha, confirming his worst fears. "I love travelling with you, Doctor, but you've opened my eyes to so many things and in that time, my family has suffered. They need me to get through this and I just can't leave them to waltz around the universe. I spent all these years training to be a doctor, and now, I've got three people in my own family to look after and help heal. They saw half the planet slaughtered and they're devastated. I just can't leave them."
"Of course not," replied the Doctor simply. He could understand that. He moved forward and pulled her into a hug. "Thank you, Martha Jones. You, as well as Rose, saved the world."
Martha nodded her head. "Yes, we did. Didn't we, Rose?" She motioned with her hand for the Doctor to look behind him.
Rose stood there, bags at her feet, her hair unkempt and her face streaked with tears. In that moment both the Doctor and Martha understood what Rose had decided to do. Martha stepped away from the Doctor and out of the TARDIS, realising that she shouldn't intrude on this private moment.
"Rose?" The Doctor sounded confused. "Are you okay?"
"This is the hardest choice I've ever had to make..." Rose began, her lips trembling. "I always promised myself that I would stay with you forever, but everything I've seen and done... I just can't... I wanted to kill him, Doctor, I wanted him dead. For months I carried this anger in me. Everything the Master had done I hated him for and vowed to kill him but it was you who made me realise that I've changed... I'm not the Rose Tyler you met, am I?"
He didn't answer.
"Please," she begged, "just answer me."
He shuffled on his feet feeling uncomfortable. "No, you're not. You have changed, but for the better."
Rose shook her head. "No, no, I haven't. How could wanting to kill the Master be a better thing for me?" She sniffed. "It's not who I'm meant to be. My mum told me, just before we parted that I was changin', that I would no longer be Rose Tyler if I continued to be with you. I thought it was better for, but it isn't... It's become clear now, I have to leave before I lose myself completely. Ever since the Daleks and the Cybermen you've looked down on me, you've been disappointed in me... so now this is me getting out, because I can't hurt you anymore. I need to find myself again and maybe, once I've done that, I can come back... but after the year I've had I can't stay."
"But... but... I need you," stammered the Doctor. "Rose..."
But she held up a hand to stop him. "Please don't make this any harder than it already is." And then a thought struck her for she reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone and threw it to him. "Keep it. If I need you, I'll call you."
He nodded. He wouldn't be able to change her mind, that much was certain. "Rose, I want you to know that I will miss you very much."
She sniffed, wiping her nose with a tissue from her pocket. "I know. I'll miss this place too but I need to move on." She picked up her bags and walked past the Doctor, head held high. When she reached him she looked up into his eyes. "You know I still love you right?" She wanted him to remember that.
"I know," he whispered. "If I could say it, Rose, I would...but I can't... my head is so screwed up that I need to piece things together before I can even think about stuff like that... "
"I understand," smiled Rose. She stood up on tiptoe, and planted a kiss on his cheek. "That's to remember me, okay?"
"I could never forget you," he replied, his cheek tingling where Rose had kissed him.
"I should hope not," she said as she moved away from him, towards the doors of the TARDIS. She glanced back at him one more time before opening the door and stepping out. She walked across the road and turned back as the TARDIS engines started up and she watched as it disappeared, taking the love of her life with it. Tears slipped down her cheeks and she wondered if she would ever see him again.
"Rose? I thought you were staying?" Martha had come out of her parent's house to join her by the side of the road.
"I changed my mind," sniffed Rose, "on the Valiant. I need to move on and have a normal life and leaving the Doctor is the only way I can achieve that. It won't be the last I see of him, Martha, not by a long shot but for now I've made my choice." She gave her friend a smile, and Martha patted her on the back.
"Come on, let's go inside," said Martha. She took one of Rose's bags from her friend and started back inside. "Are you coming?"
Rose turned away from where the TARDIS had stood, not regretting her choice. She had the future to look forward to, and with Martha by her side, Rose was confident that everything was going to turn out alright. She smiled, understand that for the first time in a long while she had made the right choice about her future, and she wondered, if the Doctor was proud of her.
Wherever the Doctor was, she was certain, that he would be proud of the choice she had made.
Please let me know what you think!
I understand that this might not be the ending you expected but this is natural progression for Rose's character after everything she has seen and done. This was always going to be the ending to this fic. But Rose's story is not over, nor is Martha's.
Without further ado, I present details to the sequel to Choices:
Summary: Rose promised the Doctor she would never leave him, but found herself leaving the TARDIS at her own free will, now she finds her new life disrupted as the Doctor comes crashing back into her life along with fiery-red head Donna Noble who may just be the most important woman in the universe.
I intend to write the entirety of this fic before posting as I would like to incorporate the Tenth Doctor's regeneration into this story, which is why this fic will probably not appear until late January 2010.
However, I am, hopefully, going to be working on a few short stories set in the 'Choices'-verse in-between 'Evolution of the Daleks' and 'The Lazarus Experiment'. The first of these stories is currently entitled 'Doctor on Trial' so keep an eye out for that, but Promises is likely to come first.
Please bear with the wait, but I hope to have the majority of the sequel written before I post it.
Until 2010, my friends,