A/N: This is a story based on a theory. It was originally slated to appear in "The Ends" but I think it deserves it's own. There are technically no spoilers here, but I admit I am posting it to celebrate one simple fact: Turn Left is pretty much fantastic.
Through the Howling
They are past it all, now. He has stopped blaming himself, come to understand that her choice alone created her from the very beginning and that he can never be held responsible for her choices, regardless of how he tries. She has stopped trying to hide it from him, trying to hide anything from him, for any reason.
He has moved beyond his fears and she has moved beyond her shadows. Doubt no longer haunts her ageless face, and regret no longer ages his timeless one. They are themselves again, at last, he wise and strong and beautiful, she lovely and brave and oh so human.
She is what her kind have never been, what they have always lacked. She is truly and willfully alive, her heart on her sleeve, living on the extreme edges of her skin. She is a paradox of contrast, a kaleidoscope of joy, wonder, and experience. Tempered and untarnishable, she has become something so splendid even he could honestly have never hoped for more for her.
He is what his kind would never be, what they always refused. He is truly and willfully alive, his head and his hearts bundled up together, thinking and feeling at once everything he has ever been or seen. He is what he has always been, something that glories in life and existence so much that without him, the Universe would simply collapse in on itself.
In many ways, she is so different. In more ways, she is always that wide-eyed shop girl who snatched his hand and his hearts in the same gesture. He has often wondered what she sees with those bright, dark eyes, but never more so than he wonders now.
They are alone together and dancing to a song they alone in all the Universe can hear. Their movements embody grace, a mathematical precision that he was taught young and she knows by instinct.
They will always be in love.
They alone know how deep that meaning goes. He has words for it, and she has thoughts for it and together they have feelings for it. Their love has never clung nor insisted, and yet it has always cleaved and persisted. He has needed her like starlight and that is what she made herself to be.
They may never again speak the words, but they don't need to do. They have had other words between them that mean it: "I'm so glad I met you", "I want you safe", "Quite right, too", "I'm not leaving him". And, of course, the endless theme, the one that once began it all and has power even the others do not: "Run!"
Their steps and their touches and their bodies tell their stories. Their eyes tell more, burning and wounded and healing. They are a study in opposites, now, and the extreme polarity of the magnetic fields thereof. He is the last child of time, yet timeless. She is the dawn of a new age, yet ageless.
The spell runs its course, and the song stills them. Words part the silence, but they are important words, as all words he ever speaks are important.
"Are you going back?" he asks, wondering if it is fair to beg her to stay.
"For a while," she admits, wondering if it is fair to never leave.
He decides it is fair, then, and speaks, new words for their list of representative truth. "Come back to me."
She decides it is fair, then, and speaks, an old word that has long graced their unsolemnitized union. "Forever."
She can mean it now, in ways she never could have meant it before. She cannot say, does not say, will never say that she was not warned. The words are burned in her heart: "But she's not Rose Tyler any more. She's not even human..."
But she will always be human, and that is the most beautiful thing, that whatever else she had created herself to become, she is human all the same. Once, she would have been old before he turned around twice. Now, she will turn around twice and return to him, her duties fulfilled, her promises to others kept, and her mortal existence long behind her.
"How long?" he ventures, unwilling to be without her again.
"'What is time to wolves?'" she asks, a quote he can reference well enough, as she can see in his eyes.
Time Lord that he is, he smiles to remind her. "Everything, I hope."
She nods because she cannot speak, tears falling down her cheeks in rivulets. Somewhere, it is raining and no one knows why, save them.
"My Doctor," she says, and she can believe it now, though it has always been true.
"My Eternal Rose," he replies.
She is Eternal and he is Time Lord and between them, eternity can pass before they see each other again, leaving them unchanged by its passage. It will not, however, because he needs her hand to hold as much as she needs to hold his hand.
Reaching out past the ephemeral, she steps through the Howling and is gone from him. Her thoughts linger, though, and her voice. If he concentrates just so, and tilts his head carefully, her touch itself will linger still and remain.
She will return to him, as she has always done. He needs only wait it out and he is better equipped, even, than she. What, after all, is time to a Time Lord?