Here's a story I never thought I'd write. Yes, this is a tag for "Doomsday". Amazing where a few ideas scribbled onto paper can lead you.

Once again, although this story is meant to remain within the TV show canon, it's written as a sequel to my stories, "The Girl in the Stalking Spaceship", "Age of Bronze", "Lantern Extinguished", "Gravity Schmavity", "Love and Monsters", "Show Her, Tell Her", and "Ghost of a Chance".

If you want more cheering up after "Doomsday," check out Orianna-2000's inspiring "Impossible Things I: What Price?"; I say inspiring, because bits of this story were motivated by that one (and used with permission :) ). It's an awesome beginning to an awesome series of stories.

This is the unbeta'd first chapter, since I'm too impatient to wait for my betas to get back to me ;)

Disclaimer: Surprise, surprise, I don't own Doctor Who. Nor do I get anything from writing these stories--except wonderful, constructive reviews! Wink, wink; nudge, nudge ;)

Chapter 1, Ghost Floor

The breach closed, and the Doctor fell limply to the floor, staring. He was almost suffocating beneath the layers of emotion. There had been the terror of seeing Rose flying towards the void, the sudden relief of seeing her saved, the dawning comprehension of the immensity of their separation. In amongst all that was the quickly fading sensation of a paradox, altered timelines, telling him that things could have gone even worse. Far worse.

He climbed to his feet, moving slowly towards the wall.

Up until Rose had reappeared in this universe, everything had been clear in the Doctor's mind. He'd realized long ago how much he loved her, but that only increased the burden on him to be selfless in his care for her. He'd known that her needs, what was best for her, had to come first. As long as he could give her the universe, the risks were worthwhile. But if it came down to a choice between him and her family, he knew her family would win. And today, they'd learned she had a chance to be not only with her mother, but with her father and Mickey, too. How could the Doctor hope to compete? How could he let her choose him just because of a promise made more out of stubbornness than anything else?

Then, everything he'd been so certain about had been upended in an instant. Rose had come back.

She must have thought he was angry with her, him practically shouting his instructions, but the truth was he was too caught up in the turmoil in his mind. He couldn't comprehend how she could be here, how she could really have chosen him over everything life in Pete's world could offer her.

He reached the wall, touching it as though Rose were just on the other side, instead of a universe away, in a parallel version of the same building in which he stood.

She'd come back. Again. He'd tried to send her home before, the last time the Daleks had been poised to destroy the earth. He'd sent her and his TARDIS away, resigned to his fate. She'd done the impossible then, more than he could have imagined any companion doing in those circumstances. She'd come back to him, thousands of years in her future, just to face death at his side.

Why hadn't he seen it sooner? Why hadn't he seen it then?

Rose, he thought, laying his head against the smooth, white surface of the wall. Rose. He could almost feel her. Just a faint hint of her mind, fading even as he reached for it, right on the edge of his senses. Rose.

If only she hadn't come back this time, he could have pretended. He could tell himself that she never really meant to spend her entire life with him, that it was just for fun. That she would have given him up eventually. But now, now he knew. And his hearts, which had been hardened against the impossible choice he'd had to make when he sent her with Jackie, had softened so much at her return that now they threatened to tear themselves out of his chest.

Do you know, Rose? Do you know how much it killed me to send you away? How much I love you? Why did I hide it? Why did I wait? Why couldn't I tell you?

My Rose.

He could have sworn his sense of her pulsed slightly, but it was slipping away so quickly now. He pulled away from the wall, severing the connection himself, unwilling to have her torn from him again, so soon.

To be continued.