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Here's the final instalment. Hope you enjoy xx
For Disclaimer see Chapter 1And The Hearts Break…
The Doctor looked at her with wide, watery eyes.
"She's home. With her family. On another world."
Donna didn't understand. "Well, what's the problem, then? Go get her!"
He shook his head and smiled sadly. "A parallel world. I can't get there."
"Are you sur-"
"-I've tried everything, Donna. I can't get her back. She's safe. She's with her family."
There was a pause, while the Doctor struggled to bring himself to talk about the moments buried so deep in his hearts.
"There was a battle.
"A terrible battle that shouldn't have happened.
"Parallel impossibilities and nightmares from the past came together against us.
"And she was strong, so strong.
"She looked them in the eye and told them she had no fear.
"Amongst all the chaos, all the pain and terror, trough the whole tragedy, she came back for me.
"I sent her home, but she came back for me.
"She said she was never going to leave.
"She told me she was going to stay with me forever.
"That nothing would break us apart.
"She'd made her choice."
He took a deep breath, a tremor running through his whole body.
Donna looked deep into those troubled eyes, and could see his hearts breaking. Breaking for his Rose.
"Why didn't she stay?"
"She did. But it wasn't her choice." His eyes grew dark, his face twisted with the torment and grief, and he spat the words out. "She was pulled away. Taken from me before I could hold her, before I could tell her…"
Donna waited for his next words, but they never came. She prompted him.
"Did you love her, Doctor?"
He looked up at the statue of his lost bloom. "She knows how I feel."
On their way out of the temple, they passed an old man with white hair and once-handsome features. His attention was focused on a small box in his hands, until he saw the skinny man in the dark suit, and an old memory teased his brain. He turned, and called to the man.
The Doctor and Donna turned to look at him, questioning expressions spread across their faces.
The Doctor was tired and drawn from his emotional ordeal, but through the veil of depression that hung over him, he recognised the man.
It was his friend from so long ago, the boy who had been turned to stone.
Optatus hurried over to the Doctor, a smile ironing some of the creases from his face to give a glimpse of his younger appearance.
"Yes, Doctor. It is so good to see you! My friend's nephew, Favius, told me of a stranger with a blue box who came to ask about Fortuna, but I never expected it to be you."
The Doctor forced a smile onto his face. "Nice to see you again, my friend."
"You have not changed a day, through all the seasons, not one day on your face," Optatus remarked wistfully. "You must truly come from the land of the gods."
"I can assure you, we don't," Donna said with a kindly smile.
Optatus looked around briefly. "Where is Rose?"
Donna saw the Doctor's whole body stiffen when he heard the name, and she placed a comforting hand on his arm. "She's home," she told the Roman.
Optatus nodded at the vague explanation. "I brought this today for the festival; I thought, as Rose became an embodiment of Fortuna, I thought the goddess may approve of this token." He held up the small box. "But it is addressed to you. You should take it, with my blessing, old friend."
Reluctantly the Doctor took the box, staring down at it in confused wonderment.
Optatus ventured an explanation. "Rose dropped it. You should take it for her."
Back in the TARDIS, when he was alone in the library, the Doctor finally built up the courage to open the mysterious box. And his hearts welled up with happiness, sadness, loneliness, and every other imaginable emotion.
It was a scrap of paper, and which was a rough picture of a Roman soldier. On the other side was a message in Rose's handwriting:
I thought I'd have a go at inventing the postcard a few years early.
Thanks for bringing me to Rome, it's great.
Can't wait to pose for Fortuna tomorrow.
I just wanted to say thanks, cos I always forget to.
Where can we go next?
How about Barcelona? You know you never did take me!
Not that I'm complaining.
Remind me to get one of those Roman necklaces for my mum.
He turned the paper over in his hands, suppressed tears finally falling from his eyes. His Rose. His love. His Lost Bloom.
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Look out for my next Ten/Rose story, coming very soon (I sound like a film trailer lol)