Rating: All ages
Genre: Missing scene, romance
Summary: The Doctor gets it right in the end.
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who.
Author's Notes: to JennyLD for the beta.
"You're a bit of a duffer, aren't you?"
The Doctor's head shot up, turning in surprise to face Rose. "Excuse me?" His eyebrows arched up and he stared at her as if she'd told him he was descended from mice.
"You," she said, tapping her temple with her finger, "not the brightest bulb in the pack."
Closing his eyes, he turned away, hiding his feelings, hiding how he felt about Iher/I when it was obvious to Rose and Mickey and probably strangers walking down the street. "Thought you were showing Mickey around," was all he said.
She ignored his words because she didn't understand him. Didn't understand why he wasn't doing all he could to see her one last time. If it ever came to that, she hoped he'd do everything he could to see her, no matter what. "You've got a time machine. We're standing in it right now. This big ole thing all around us? It actually travels in time."
"It's not that simple. I can't just--"
"Why not?" Maybe she was being simple or stupid, but she didn't understand why he couldn't just pop the TARDIS down to Versailles and see Reinette one last time before she died. At least, Rose assumed that's what had happened. She didn't know for sure, but judging by the crestfallen look he'd come back into the TARDIS with, it made sense.
What didn't make sense was his refusal to go down and see her. It wouldn't be crossing his own timeline since he knew exactly when he'd been there and when he hadn't. For that matter, he probably could've gone down to save Reinette before, though he'd spouted some mumbo jumbo about not being able to do it.
He didn't answer, just stared at the console.
And she realized. "You don't want to. You'd rather sit up here in your great gilded cage and pretend it didn't happen."
"Rose," he bit out, brows lowered, gritting his teeth. "I'd like to be alone now."
"Yeah," she scoffed, hands in her back pockets as she backed up a step. "I got that." Turning around, she headed out the door to find Mickey, but then stopped, turning back to him. "You will, you know."
He didn't look at her, just continued staring at that letter. "What?" he asked quietly.
"Be alone. Only, not just now, but for the rest of your lives if you keep pushing everyone away and holding them at arm's length. If you really cared about her, you'd do everything you could to see her one last time, no matter what."
And with that, Rose left the Doctor alone with his misery.
"There's one tiny little gap in the universe left, just about to close. And it takes a lot of power to send this projection. I'm in orbit around a super nova." The Doctor laughed softly, ducking his head a little. "I'm burning up a sun just to say goodbye."
Rose's eyes filled with tears.
He'd found a way. No matter what.