Author's Note: I borrowed the idea for this story from Garth Brooks' 'More Than A Memory'. Don't forget the tissues…
Timeframe: Eleventh in the 'Incompatible' series. Post- 'Doomsday'.
Summary: Sometimes he finds himself in London, early twenty-first century. It's so second nature for him to simply punch in the date and location that it startles him when, every time, he stops and stares at such a familiar location as if it should have been erased from existence with her.
More Than a Memory
He doesn't sleep anymore. Not that he did much before but now- now, every time he closes his eyes and lets exhaustion tense his body, he dreams of her. Her voice echoes in his mind; her image haunts his dreams.
Instead he stays awake, forces his eyes open and his mind to stay sharp. Instead he works harder and travels faster. Instead he finds adventure after adventure, world after world to save, to fill his time with adrenaline and excitement to keep him from going insane.
Sometimes he finds himself in London, early twenty-first century. It's so second nature for him to simply punch in the date and location that it startles him when, every time, he stops and stares at such a familiar location as if it should have been erased from existence with her.
But it hasn't, and that's the worst part about it. Because he knows it's there any time the notion strikes him to see her again. Because he can, he knows he can, but he also knows that he shouldn't- that he can't.
He knows that even as he dials the code and brings himself one number away from going to her. He knows that even as he takes other people to the same places that he took her to, tormenting himself with the ghosts of her memory.
Shaving's become an effort, he finds. He does, to keep up appearances, to pretend that everything's okay. That's why he baths when he knows his companion's about to wake. He baths and he dresses, he gels his hair and shaves away the stubble that makes him look like he doesn't care. He takes the time to impress, to be impressive. Because he needs to be when other people are around.
But when they aren't there, when he's alone in the soundless halls, when the comforting song of his TARDIS sounds like a funeral dirge to his ears, that's when he goes a bit mad. That's when his hair grows wild and his face becomes marred with an unbecoming beard. That's when he saves the world in a rumpled and stained shirt because he hopes, in some dark corner of his mind, that it'll be his last adventure.
That's when he sees her, just out of the corner of his eye. That's when he remembers not to look for her, or at her, just to let her come to him. That's when he talks to her, tells her about his latest adventure or latest companion. Tells her what he should have said years ago. He doesn't tell her that he's slowly dying inside. Doesn't tell her that it's through sheer force of will that keeps him moving. But she knows, she sees it. And she scolds him for it.
That's when he shakes his head and clears his mind of her. She's not real. She's gone. And that's it.
He's got to move on.
It's only when she visits him that he cleans himself up and moves on. Only then does he try to impress, try to live. Just for her, he tries. For this perfect memory of Rose, he tries to have a fantastic life.
Next up is 'The Christmas Drabbles'.