He knew it was odd. Weird, even. So many things he could have shared with her, the whole universe at their feet, and all he could think about now was what she would have thought of Jenny. He knew Rose better than he knew himself – and he'd been in this form for a while, so it was actually saying something. He didn't know what she'd have thought of Jenny, though. He'd told Rose he'd been a father before, but they hadn't exactly had time to discuss it then, even if he'd wanted to. And did it really matter now, anyway? Jenny was gone, and Rose so far away she was as good as gone. Forever. His forever, which was much, much longer than the one humans had.
But as he piloted the Tardis through time and space, not feeling the urge to stop and explore anywhere, he thought of Rose, and of Jenny. Not comparing, because they were not alike, and they held different pieces of his soul. But they were, he supposed, a second great blow from fate, the other shoe dropping on his chest, squeezing it into pancake. No, not pancakes; he liked pancakes. Rather, they were his second great loss, another family that had been stripped away from him.
And he suddenly knew why Jenny was in his thoughts now, of all times. Rose... he'd had to lose Rose, to sacrifice her heart and his on the altar of Time Lord best practices: saving the universe and salvaging something good for the ones he loved out of the pain he'd caused them. He'd had to lose her because they'd chosen one road that had diverged into two. They were never meant to have forever; even if he'd held on to her as tightly as he could, she'd have slipped away eventually like sand through his fingers.
But Jenny had been his and no one else's. His little girl, born against his will but taken from him just as cruelly, and not because it was necessary, not to save anyone else. The trouble had ended, a new world had begun to thrive, and some small-minded little ape of a soldier had cold-bloodedly stolen her from him on a revengeful whim, on some kind of pathetic, desperate last-chance rebellion. If he'd stopped to kill every time he'd been angry enough, grief-stricken enough... there'd be nothing left of the beauty and wisdom of his people in the universe. No mercy, no generosity, no excitement and wonder left for the unexpected or the random... just cold hatred. Everything Rose had loved and nurtured in him would be dead along with Jenny, along with Gallifrey, along with all those sad, tiny minds that could grow now into something entirely new and incredible. Rose had saved him, and he'd tried to do the same for her. If only he'd had the chance to save Jenny, to keep her with him, to teach her and show her everything he'd never had the chance to show his other children and Rose.
All gone now. Rose, the only human he'd ever loved so completely he could hardly think of all the hundreds of years stretching impossibly out in front of him without her in them. And Jenny, the only child he'd had to learn to love, and he'd just barely managed to tell her before those sweet, doleful eyes had closed for the last time.
The Doctor shook himself like a dog crawling out of a pool. Why torture himself over things he couldn't change? Some things were fixed, he'd said it so many times. Jenny and Rose were like Pompeii. That damned volcano blew, in every reality, and all he could do was get out of the way. Or cause it, because the alternative would have been so much worse. He'd sacrificed Pompeii for the rest of the world; a life with Rose and with only one of him in it for the rest of the universe. But Jenny should have been his to keep.
WHAM. The Doctor was thrown to the metal grating as the Tardis swooped and rolled after its impact with something or other. The Doctor was floored, literally and figuratively. The Tardis had proximity alarms and shields and all kinds of gizmos to keep it from smashing into things it passed in space and time. The only time he'd ever slipped up was when he'd looked up and found the prow of the spaceship Titanic sticking through the wall, and that was because he'd been a little busy and had forgotten to put the shields back up. One tiny bit of mental abstraction had equaled one huge mess. But the shields were up, and the Tardis didn't have a single thing wrong with her, and he knew because he'd personally checked every single circuit over the last few weeks for lack of anything better to do. So, what...?
He raced to the doors and flung them open wide. He was floating in space, no big surprise. But there was something else there with him: a little spacecraft about the size the Tardis would be if it were a real police box. He stared at it warily. It was flashing distress lights, and he wanted to come dashing to the rescue, but if whatever was inside were hostile, he might get killed, and the last thing he wanted right now was to regenerate and lose the face Rose had last looked at with such pained adoration.
He'd just have to take the chance. The little ship was shedding bits of its outer hull and wouldn't last much longer. The Doctor maneuvered the Tardis up to the door of the ship and fastened on, securing the breathable atmosphere for the inhabitants when they came aboard. He flourished his sonic screwdriver at the door, and it slid aside. The Doctor staggered, only just managing to catch himself on the doorway. The shuttle had only one occupant, after all, and although she was unconscious, and a big bloody gash streaked across her left temple, she was visibly still breathing. And she was the most beautiful thing the Doctor had ever seen.
"Jenny," he managed to squeeze out of breathless lungs. Her eyelids fluttered as he lifted her out of the pilot's seat, but except for the steady rise and fall of her chest, she didn't move again as he carried her into the Tardis and shut the doors behind them.
He had an explanation now for the failure of the Tardis systems to keep the collision from occurring; the Tardis had been drawn to the only other living Time Lord in its vicinity and had caused the crash. "Could have just said hello and invited her in for a cup of tea," he muttered as his worried gaze traveled over the nasty cut that was still bleeding sluggishly. He carried her to the closest bedroom (sternly avoiding the realization that it had been Rose's) and laid her on the bed, making her as comfortable as he could. He drew the blankets up over her and frowned. What if she woke up and wondered where she was? He shrugged off his coat and laid it over her; even if the Tardis didn't calm her right away, she'd recognize that coat.
He fetched as many medical supplies as he could find. Martha had left some bandages and things behind, and he could easily whip up some kind of antiseptic. Jenny would have to heal herself when she woke up.
Jenny. She was here, and she was alive. The Doctor still couldn't believe it. He'd seen her take that bullet. She'd died in his arms. But nevertheless, she was here, sleeping on Rose's bed.
Jenny's bed, he corrected himself. He'd decided almost as soon as he'd laid eyes on her lifeless face that he'd never again leave her in any doubt as to what he wanted, not like he'd kept everyone else hanging. Unless she wanted to leave, she would stay on the Tardis and travel with him, forever. He'd never lose her again, for anything.