Title: Not With You (1/1)
Author: JennyLD
Spoilers: Journey's End
Characters/Pairings: Rose, others
Prompt: He grabs me by the hand, drags me to the shore and says, maybe you don't love me, but you'll grow to love me even more.
Author's Note: Prompt and beta by Sinecure

"We are one and the same, you know." There's a certainty in his tone, but underlying it, she can hear the doubt creeping in, leaving him sounding like a lost little boy. Which, she supposes, in many ways, he is. "Genetically, we're nearly identical. A few minor differences physically, but, other than that, same man."

"Like the one heart," she replies, with a lot less sarcasm than she'd intended.

"Yes, like the one heart." She can see him nodding out of the corner of her eye, emphasizing his point. For her benefit or for his? "But one heart doesn't mean the feelings for you are any less. The...the love is just as strong."

"So you both love me, then?" The words come out in a rush, forced from her mouth before she can talk herself out of asking. She needs this, needs to know the answer before she can even consider picking up the pieces of her life.

There's a pregnant pause, the silence between them stretching on for miles. Even the ocean seems to have taken note of this subdued moment. The waves loll gently, quietly at their feet; a twenty-some year old former shop girl with tears in her eyes and a brown-haired Doctor--because he is the Doctor--who's lost so much it's more than he can bear.

"Yes," he finally whispers, "both of us." Whether that makes things easier, she doesn't know, but life goes on, like it always does.

And so must she.

Untangling her fingers from his, she drops his hand. "I suppose we should get going then," she turns, nodding her head in the direction of the small group of people just up the beach. "Things to do, places to go, and all that rot."

Before she can make that first step towards the rest of her life, he takes her face in his hands and tilts her chin with his thumbs, forcing her to look at him, to really see him. "You will grow to love him, Rose. I know you don't think you will, but he can give you so much more than me." He leans down and places a quick, tender kiss to her lips. "And you'll love him even more for it."

She stands silently, at the edge of the ocean, as the Doctor--the proper Doctor--hurries up the beach to the waiting embrace of the TARDIS.