Okay, okay I give in. Here's the final piece I promised you. Hope you like it xxTen Days Quarantine
Disclaimer: Not mine. Well, the story is, but all characters, time machines etc belong to the Beeb.EpiloguePreviously…
"… We could go to see the first frost on Pluto! Billions of years ago, what d'you think? Or how about Socrates? He's great, he is. So easy to argue with! Or how about-"
Rose stopped him dead in his tracks by placing her hand on top of his as it trailed over the console. She locked him in a gaze that was both compelling and relentless. The Doctor gulped. With that look, she could make him do anything.
Rose hesitated, but she couldn't turn back now. She took a deep breath.
"You said you love me."
He blinked. He blinked again. He'd never been so conscious of his eyelids before, but now, they seemed to be in a flurry of activity all of their own as he wracked his brain trying to think of something to say.
"Um… yes. I think I did." Suddenly he grinned broadly. "Your mind wasn't the only one messed up by the virus, eh?"
He cringed as soon as the words fell out of his mouth. He hadn't meant to say it like that. Not like an insult. Not like a rejection. He'd meant it in good humour, but judging by the clouded look of hurt and embarrassment spreading across Rose's face, that's not the way it had sounded.
"Rose, I didn't-"
"No, it's fine." She didn't look at him, choosing instead to pout at the control station. She was so humiliated. Of course it had been the virus speaking before. It had been a particularly unDoctorish moment. And he was trying to make her see sense, ignore her nightmares. He would have said anything to make her snap out of it.
"Doctor, where are we right now?" she asked abruptly, without looking at him.
It took the Doctor a moment to realise what she meant. He looked at the monitor, eager to please.
"Um, Cralium. Lots of little Grecian-style islands."
"Can we land." It was a demand, not a question.
"Yeah, sure." The Doctor did his thing and soon the TARDIS rumbled into existence on a sunny little island.
Before he could say anything, Rose had made her way across the control room and out of the door into the fresh air. He decided, for once, not to follow her.
Rose closed her eyes and breathed in gulps of the heavenly sea air and relished the feel of the salty breeze ruffling her hair. Ten days inside, and it felt so good to be out again. That was until she opened her eyes, and saw the sign in front of her. It was so huge and bright it looked vulgar against the natural beauty of the island, almost like vandalism. It read:
Welcome to De'kem
Cralium's Island of Love and Dreams.
Rose groaned. How cheesy? And how ironic that they should land here. If she didn't know better, she would have thought he'd landed them here on purpose.
She made her way over a rocky cliff, savouring being able to stretch her legs. She headed down away from the TARDIS, to where she could see what looked like a café. She kept walking til she reached it, and could only just make out the shape of the TARDIS in the distance on the cliff top. She found a table in a secluded corner where she could be left unnoticed to ponder on her thoughts.
All around her were couples: some humanoid, others… um… not (Rose decided not to categorise). But they all looked so happy and content, just to bewith each other.
Even though they weren't technically a couple, Rose had often thought of herself and the Doctor like that. Saving planets was necessary, and life-affirming. Meeting people from the past was thought-provoking. Meeting people from the future was awe-inspiring. But when all was said and done, when planets were safe, villains were dealt with and goodbyes had been said, there they were, her and the Doctor, her Doctor as she had so often thought. Maybe that was naïve. After all, could the Lord of Time belong to one person, from one planet at one time? Her, of all people? She had often seen the way he looked at her, when she said something unexpected, or did something amazing, and that look had always been there since the day they met. Had she mistaken it for love? Was she searching too hard for something that wasn't there?
A waiter interrupted her trail of thought. A purple waiter, carrying a tray of frothing drinks.
"Miss, why are you crying?"
"I-I'm not," she denied self-consciously, but raising a hand to her cheek she found wet streaks, ending in droplets on the table. "I'm sorry."
The waiter smiled kindly. "Please don't apologise. It is just that this," he gestured around him, "is the island of love. And no love can be found when there is no happiness in the heart."
Rose wasn't quite sure if she understood or agreed with that, but she nodded and smiled politely. "I guess not. But I'm not looking for love."
"Ah, no, I can see in your eyes, you already know love, but you ponder…" The waiter glanced around, Rose guessed to see if he was being observed by his superiors, before handing her one of the frothing drinks.
"A gift, for the troubled soul."
Rose looked down with apprehension at the unidentifiable liquid, but not wanting to offend him, she accepted it gratefully. The waiter bowed, made his good wishes known and left.
Rose absentmindedly let her hand pass over the foam, making her palm tingle. She turned as music filled the air, and watched a large orange alien with a bulbous nose play a piano-like instrument for his love, who watched with adoration.
Rose smiled to herself. At any other time, she would have been rolling on the floor laughing at the cheesiness of this place.
Her mind wandered back to the Doctor. He had played the piano for her. Made wonderful music about her, for her. So what if he didn't love her like that? He certainly loved her as a friend: she was his best friend, and he made that known often enough. She thought back to all the times he had grabbed her hand and just ran for the horizon, peril or none. He made her feel special, wanted and cherished. Surely that was everything she was supposed to look for in a relationship? Maybe she should be content with that? After all, no matter how they viewed each other, they had always been there for each other since the day they met.
And at that moment, Rose knew what Sarah-Jane Smith had meant:"Do I stay with him?"
"Yes. Some things are worth getting your heart broken for."
Rose knew she would never know another man like him. And no matter how he saw her, whether as a blundering ape, a travelling companion, or something else, she would always love him. That was the truth, and to some extent, the tragedy.
She took a deep breath, and stood up. Leaving her frothing drink untouched, she made her way back to the TARDIS, dread, fear and some sort of contentment causing turmoil in her stomach. Home.
The Doctor looked down at the item in his hands. He was sure she knew. Even though he'd messed it up again, she knew. She had to. All the little things about her that drove him crazy, all the things she did that made his jaw drop or his hearts swell with pride, every laugh, every tear, everything they had seen together…
Determined, he put the item down on her pillow, and left her room.
Rose finally got back up to the TARDIS. She opened the door sheepishly, and found the Doctor was not there. Partially relieved, partially disappointed, she started wandering the corridors for any sign of him. She found none. But she did find her bedroom door several times. Guessing that the TARDIS had an agenda of her own, Rose headed inside, and went to flop down on her bed. That was when she noticed it. The piece of paper, placed on her pillow. She picked it up and scanned it with interest. And what she saw made her heart surge.
It was a piece of music, handwritten in pencil, and obviously erased and redone several times, no doubt to make it just right – he always had been a perfectionist. But this one had lyrics. She could not read them: they were in Galifreyan, and the Doctor must have convinced the TARDIS not to translate them. But it was the title that made tears well up in her eyes. Written carefully across the top, and obviously never been altered, the title read:
'My Rose, My Love.'
Rose gazed at the paper for several minutes, before carefully placing it in a drawer in her bedside table and trying to regain her composure. She smiled to herself. Why did I ever doubt him?
Rose entered the control room, and this time the Doctor was at the controls. He smiled at her when he saw her, but his eyes held more meaning than the smile ever could.
"Everything alright?" he asked gently.
"Yeah," she replied shakily as she joined him at the console. "Everything's just fine."
The Doctor sighed in silent relief, and pulled a lever. The TARDIS whirred, and the two time travellers looked up at the time rotor working it's magic.
The Doctor replayed her words from a few days ago over in his head:
"I just didn't know. But I do now."
He smiled to himself, and, just for a moment, the struggles of the universe lifted from his shoulders.
He knew she knew.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this story. It was my first one, and I've really come to love it. I want to say a great big thank you to everyone who's taken the time to review, and thanks to everyone for reading. And I know it's a little thing but I did spell Pudsey wrong, and it's been bugging me, too. If you've got any last thoughts, I'd love to hear them: feel free to review or send me a message. My next story will be about a certain marble statue: please look out for it.
G'night, all xx