Oh.

My.

Othering.

Gosh.

Disclaimer: The probability that I own Doctor Who is inversely proportionate to my current shock level.

WARNING: Spoilers for Partners in Crime.

SIAPNIAN: I THOUGHT SHE WAS JUST COMING BACK FOR THE LAST THREE EPISODES! WHAT THE HECK?? -falls over- I'm gonna go mad. Really, I am.

-BAD WOLF-

He was fine. Really, he was. Honestly.

Until then.

She shoved all her bags of stuff into his arms and for just a split second, as he tried to focus on the things he was now balancing, the mechanical streetlights glowed against Donna's hair and just for that moment he saw gold.

And it all came rushing back. The last time he saw Donna... the last time he saw Donna, it was right after he lost her.

"That friend of yours. What was her name?"

"...Her name was Rose."

Further back, now, as he attempted to maintain his balance. She was the last person to so rudely dump so much stuff in his grasp.

Well, not quite this much, she was more considerate than that, but still.

"Got enough stuff?"

"Last time I stepped in that box, it was spur-of-the-moment. Now I'm signing up. You're stuck with me. Ha!"

Stuck with her, he thought glumly, as he caught another flash of gold against a puddle on the street. Not for long enough, and yet she was still with him, in a way. Haunting his dreams, stalking his thoughts, until every moment he was always searching for that flash of pure gold framing her perfect face, that glow of Time trapped in the honey-coloured prison of her eyes.

He couldn't have her, yet couldn't let her go, either. And it wasn't that he didn't want to let her go; he did, at this point. He physically couldn't.

"I just want a mate," he said.

Liar. He didn't just want a mate. Maybe a few years ago, but now, after he knew who it was he truly needed? He couldn't let himself fall for anything less.

Not again.

Out of the corner of his eye, he thought he saw a flash of gold, honeyed eyes trapping Time itself within them. He thought he saw hurt run across her face before she turned and ran. He thought he heard her footsteps striking the asphalt as she ran away.

He fought the urge to run after her. He'd chased those hallucinations too many times to not know what they truly were: wishful thinking twisting a blonde's reflection, the glow of a street-lamp, the molten gold of a warp drive, into images of her haunting the corners of his eyes.

"There's no-one to turn to, because who's gonna believe the things you see out of the corner of your eye? No-one. Except me."

And then there were the times when the things he used to believe in were truly not there.

Like now.

Rose was lost to him, and he could never find her again. It was impossible, even for him.

"I like impossible."

He hated impossible.

A few seconds after Donna ran off, Time shifted as an eddy swirled it in a truly alien manner, and a shiver ran down the Doctor's spine.

He blamed it on the wind.

-BAD WOLF-

Stupid Doctor. Stupid, stupid, stupid. -bangs head on desk- Stupid Donna. Poor Rose. -hugs her-