title comes from a song by a band called Metric, and the song is so
beautiful and so perfect, I'm surprised no-one's done a video on
youtube for it (wink wink nudge nudge) I know I keep saying this
story is finished, but then someone asks for a sequel, so if anyone
has any idea, feel free to make a suggestion. But no smut, please. Here's the song, please check it out: www. youtube. Com
Here's the song, please check it out: www. youtube. Com /watch?vwVa8hoUBlZU
London Half Life
Rose sighed, walking into the apartment and taking off her jacket as she dropped her keys in the metal bowl beside the door. It had been a long day at Torchwood, filling in piles of paper work and speaking in board meetings and showing her new assistant around.
As much as she loved her work, sometimes it was just… so tediously slow. Nothing like what she had once been used to. With the Doctor, she had been used to waking up first thing to the smell of burned bagels as he tried to make her breakfast in bed with the jiggery-poked toaster ("Sorry Rose, but it was just taking so long, so I used the Sonic Screwdriver to recalibrate the metal components to increase the…" he had stopped then as Rose placed a hand on his shoulder, a kiss on his cheek and a word of thanks for the thought) and the chances of a brand new world or time just outside the door. There had been no paperwork for the life she had loved-
Stop it, she told herself tiredly. She had forced herself to stop trying to compare her new life to her old one. She couldn't waste her life thinking about all the things she'd lost- twice now. It was three weeks after her second visit to Bad Wolf bay with the Doctor- though in the years building up to their reunion, she had allowed herself an annual pilgrimage to that desolate place. She had moved out of her old flat; the one that was the parallel copy of Bucknall House, kept only for the memories of her old life, and had moved into a new apartment with the human Doctor.
It was a beautiful place. It was full of space, open planned with the left side wall made up of huge windows over looking the Thames and the city beyond. It was in the up market part of London, and had been quite a costly investment, but it wasn't as if they couldn't afford it. With a multi-millionaire father and with Rose working at Torchwood (which always ensured a fairly hefty pay-packet) they were never short of cash. And as soon as the Doctor's ID was sorted out, he'd join her in Torchwood, so they would be completely self-sufficient.
But, even with the good money, the nice house and the man she had for so long wanted to have… she was still allowed to miss what she'd lost. Mickey had gone, thinking that she was going to be staying with the Doctor. Yet again they were separated by a universe, yet this time they had switched places. But still… it had been his choice. Just as it had before. He'd grown up since the scared little boy running from the Reapers, and from the quivering wreck that she'd found in the Nestene Consciousness' lair. He had made his life, and every decision had been made for the best.
But she still missed seeing him at Torchwood. With him there, work didn't feel like work. He was always there with her on the operations, and was there to keep her awake doing the paperwork. He was the one that had thought of the dimension cannon, and he was the one friend that she could talk to about the Doctor.
She knew that he was probably happy back home, that he'd be able to see his old friends again. But… she'd always miss him. They may have stopped going out way before the Doctor brought him onto the TARDIS, but their relationship was now stronger than ever. To Rose, Mickey would always be the brother that she had never had, and it felt like a chunk of her life was missing.
A chunk that would never be filled.
But now… she had to force herself to start over. She wasn't the only one suffering from a loss. Jackie had lost a good friend in Mickey as well. She had taken him in after his Nan had died, and he had become and even closer friend than he had been on the Estate when Rose was away travelling with the Doctor.
And then there was the Doctor himself.
She walked silently into the main living area. It was a huge room, bright and comfortable with a very modern design. On the far wall, there were two doors, each leading to the bedrooms with on-suite bathrooms and there was a kitchen on the right hand wall. The whole left wall was made of windows, with comfortable chairs positioned so that at any time either of them could go sit and look over the city.
And he was there. Just as he always was.
Everyday, when she got home from work, she would find him in his chair, silently staring out.
She sometimes forgot how much he had been forced to give up. She had lost the adventure and the fun, but he had lost a home and a life.
Not even one whole life. It was a half-life. As a Time Lord he could live in any one body for so much longer than he would now.
And what was the life of an ex-Time Lord without the companionship of his TARDIS? He cried out sometimes, in his sleep, asking why the singing had stopped. Why she had left him in the dead silence of his own mind. That was what broke her heart. Not her own losses, though they would eternally be a dull ache in her chest, but the sharp metal sting of not being able to give him- her Doctor, the things he wanted and needed.
Seeing him without the TARDIS, it was as if he had lost a limb. Ironic, as he was formed from a lost limb, he had said once.
He was quieter than he ever had been in this form. He walked through the streets, around the house, looking like a caged wolf, a storm in a bottle. Something that just shouldn't be allowed to be kept in one place, locked away. So much like her first Doctor. Quiet and dangerous and oh so closed off to everyone but her. Only she was allowed to see how much he was hurting.
Only she was allowed to see when he cried.
She hated to see him like this. But… it wasn't a chore for her, like the Time Lord Doctor had made it sound when he told her she would have to look after the man in the blue suit. It never could be. He was a new man. A man in his own right, and it was not a chore to help someone you love.
She had realised that. It had taken time to see him as a different man from the one that had left her twice. More than twice, if you counted all the times he had sent her away, or left her behind to save her from the danger or save someone else.
But she had seen in his eyes, on that grey, monotonous beach, a silent vow. A promise, that no matter what, through thick and thin, he would face this new world with her at his side. That he would never let her go.
The realisation that she didn't love him for who he looked like.
She loved him for who he was.
His own man.
"Stop it Rose."
He didn't turn the chair to look at her, didn't even move. He just kept looking out of the window, as his reflection blinked.
"Stop what?" since when had her voice been so hoarse and timid.
He held out his hand, eyes still glued to the London skyline.
She walked over to him, taking his hand in her own, but standing behind his chair, putting her chin on his head and looking out as he did.
"You're worrying about me," he reached up, taking her other hand, making his eyes go out of focus and looking at the reflection in the window instead of the view beyond, "if you think about a good thing too much, more likely as not it'll end up falling on you like a house of cards."
"I'm not thinking about you," she lied defensively, "I'm thinking about… us…"
"Ah, so that makes it better does it? Double the worry, easier the pain?"
She was silent. He always did that to her.
"What are you worried about?"
"You," she admitted, "I know you miss the TARDIS. You were crying out again last night."
It was his turn to be silent.
"I… I just wish that… that you didn't have to live without her. Without the life you had… that you had to give it up for me, all-"
"Rose," he interrupted her gently, "You don't understand what he gave me. What he gave both of us."
He gently, slowly lifted her hand to the right side of his chest, watching her reaction to the lack of a second heart.
"Do you feel that?" he whispered, feeling wetness on his scalp as tears forced their way down her cheeks even as he face stayed resolutely the same.
She shook her head, "There's nothing there."
"I know. He's taken that with him, back to the stars, 'cos that is the heart that needs the adventure to live. Part of that is still here, but it's not something that I can't live without."
He left her hand on the right side of his chest, but lifted her other hand to press against the rapid beat of his heart, belying the power of his emotions for the human girl behind him hidden in the calm face.
"Do you feel that?"
"That's what I have. That's all I have. That's the heart that was born though pain and hurt and the need for revenge. That's the heart that was formed in the thick of the battle. A bitter heart that was made with the thought of I will survive. That's the heart that was made for you."
He felt rather than heard her gasp, a sudden withdrawal of air from above his head.
"He stopped the regeneration because he didn't want to leave you again. He didn't want to have to make you watch him change again. He made me because he was worried that you'd leave if he changed, and with the thought of revenge if that would happen. So I was born. But now, the heart you can feel beating," he pressed her hand harder to his chest, "this heart… it beats for you. For only you."
"But…" Rose finally gasped, "but how can you live without the life you loved?"
"Because I was born only for you. Yes, I miss the life I lived; I will always remember it, but a life without you… I couldn't live it before, and I won't again."
He pulled her around the chair, pulling her to sit in his lap and wrapping his arms around her.
"I'd happily live a half-life with you for another… fifty years, or however long I've got to live, than live another five hundred without you."
"Yeah, but in London. Not exactly the height of excitement, is it?"
"Oh, I dunno. We always seemed to find trouble in London, didn't we? Always seemed to end up here, didn't we? Here and Cardiff," he made a face, making her choke out a watery laugh, "thanks, but I prefer London to Cardiff. Ooh, we have the 2012 Olympics to look forwards to again next year! Have to go check out Dame Kelly Holmes Close again!"
"Living the London Half-life."
"Better a half-life, than a full one." He said, pressing a kiss to her lips, "Otherwise I'd waste it. Give me too much time, and I waste it keeping you away, like I did before. Better off with half a life."
"Live too long and it'll all come down."
Like a house of cards, she didn't need to say.