Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who of course, and no money was made from this. No copyright infringement is intended and any similarity to any story not my own is coincidence.

Title: Forever it is Then
Genre: Doctor Who; angst
Rating: G
Timeline: Some fair amount of time after "Doomsday"
Summary: The Tenth Doctor finds something of Rose's left behind
Author's Notes: This isn't actually the story that I intended to write, but *shrug* it is the story I ended up writing. *grin*

Forever it is Then

"Ah ha... there's the trouble," the Doctor said triumphantly, his slender fingers fumbling with the thin, rectangular shape that he could feel wedged just out of sight under the console. "Now..."

He pulled.

"What do we have here?" The Doctor asked, finally pulling the object free. His eyes fell to it expectantly before the heavy sense of emotional gravity sent him stumbling backwards. He fetched up against the bench behind himself and dropped into the jump seat with a careless fall, cradling the small red leather volume in his hands tenderly, almost as if it were the girl herself.

"Rose," he murmured in a voice that even the Tardis itself would have been hard pressed to hear. "Even after..."

He tried to shake himself out and hold himself in all at the same time.

"Well, my darling girl, never could keep all your things neatly stowed away could you? Suppose it'll be years of stumbling across 'em..." he continued, struggling to keep his voice high before succumbing for a moment and letting it fall. It tumbled down as heavily as his body had just done.

"Forever stumbling..."

The Doctor shook himself again and almost absently traced the ribbon patterns machine stamped into the leather before reaching for the actual red ribbon holding a place between the pages. He flipped the book open to be greeted by Rose's writing, loosely dancing across the page. Slowly, he caressed the fading pink script, tracing its curving shape as he had longed to do with the girl herself, but had never quite been able to allow himself the pleasure of doing.

"Forever stumbling, Rose..." he whispered, hesitating over reading the words. Almost, he closed the book before doing so. But something inside ached to touch Rose again, even if it could only be his Companion's inked out thoughts and feelings, twice removed and hidden away in a little red diary.

"I know the Doctor thinks that I don't really understand," he read quietly, Rose's voice an achingly familiar echo in his mind.

"I know he thinks I don't get it, but I do really, about forever I mean. I know that sometimes, forever isn't nearly as long as a person expects; that sometimes, forever is just the blink of an eye. Sometimes, forever only lasts as long as it takes to say it. But that's okay. Because I meant what I said, and I don't regret for a moment that I said it. I meant forever, even if forever only lasts for the next minute. And I believe in forever, even if forever doesn't believe in me; even if the Doctor doesn't believe. I have enough belief for the both of us."

The Doctor took a breath, trying to steady himself before he could continue reading.

"Besides, The Doctor isn't the only one that understands time, because I understand it too. I understand it all curled up inside of me, a bit of forever inside of my heart, telling me that there's a time to hold his hand and a time to laugh with him. It tells me that there's time enough to cry with him and for him. And it tells me that there's time to hold him tight and time enough to run with him through the stars.

The Doctor doesn't think that I understand time when I say forever, but I do understand. I understand the forever that's resting quietly in my heart. And I understand that someday, it'll tell me that it's time to tell him; tell him right out loud in proper English-"

Rose had left the words unwritten, instead scrawling the next sentences in a quick hand, clearly having been rushed.

"Oh, he's calling just now. The Doctor's said that we can go visit my mum and I have the most amazing gift for her. It's made from bez--. Well it's made from bez, something or other. Either way, I'm sure mum will love it.

And then after we visit mum, the Doctor's promised to take me to a planet where sky changes colors with the seasons and there's a reef made of diamonds with little fish that look just like jewels! Doesn't that sound fantastic?

Maybe I can convince him to take a swim with me. Though, now that I write it down in black and white so to speak, I can't quite imagine the Doctor wearing swim trunks--"

The entry stopped there, obviously with Rose having been called away by the Doctor himself and unable to finish it.

"Ah Rose..." he sighed, caressing the space between the lines, the words unwritten. "My brilliant girl, I... I should have told you I..."

His throat suddenly felt very tight as he rose from the jump seat, leaving his own words unspoken as he walked slowly back to the console. Carefully he tucked Rose's journal into a safe spot.

"Forever it is then, Rose..."