Becoming Her Doctor

Disclaimer: Doctor Who is not mine. If it was... no, who am I kidding, Doctor Who is the best with all the angst left in. All I have claims to is the parallel TARDIS and everything she encompasses.

A/N: Finally. You'd probably be mad at me if you knew how long this has been sitting on my computer, waiting to be uploaded. I was trying to see if I was going to add anything to it, and then I got side-tracked by Torchwood.

But here it is. Enjoy it.

Chapter Four: Shoe-Shopping with the Doctor (1298 words)

Somehow, somehow, Rose had ended up going shoe-shopping with the Doctor.

It had started out that the Doctor needed a fancy suit. Apparently, when a TARDIS was grown, it didn't come complete with a wardrobe. This knowledge had made Rose temporarily wonder at where he'd gotten the assortment of time-period women's wear, such as that dress she'd worn in Cardiff. Then, this new new new Doctor had grabbed her hand and whisked her away, promptly telling her they were leaving.

He had been rather brief while choosing a suit. Rose wasn't surprised – how much choice was there really when it came to picking a black suit? It wasn't as though there were different shades of black (though if there were, Rose guessed the Doctor would have been the one to recognize them), and there were only so many styles to pick from, and the Doctor knew what he was looking for, anyway: an exact (or as close as possible to exact) replica of the black suit the other him still had on the other TARDIS.

Then, the Doctor had dragged her to the shoe store, where he'd spent the last twenty minutes collecting ever style of converse the shop had. He had now progressed to rambling on about some planet called Rox-Fom-5 while trying them on and parading about the store as though sparkly black converse might feel different from simple black converse which might feel different if it had pink instead of white or blue or red or orange threading.

Rose watched him parading around and got to wondering again. He was so different sometimes. So... human. And he had quite a bit of Donna in him, Rose could tell. Not just the human bit. Maybe it was just how he was... was "born" the right word to use? "Created" sounded so harsh, but so much truer... Whatever it was called, the circumstances in which it happened were war-like, so he had so much hatred and aggression and passion.

Rose blinked when she realized the last bit. But, she supposed it made sense. A passion for killing was maybe how it began, but it turned into a passion for everything. She rationalized it by going back to her old Doctor, the first Doctor she'd known. Once he'd agreed to bring Rose along – once she'd agreed to come along – he had such a passion for showing her everything. Or maybe that was just how the Doctor was: it hadn't gone away when he'd regenerated into his current form.

Sighing, Rose glanced over to the Doctor again. He was parading around the store like – well, like a young girl who'd tried on her first pair of high heels and discovered that they were the most brilliant invention in the world. There was so much human in him. So much human woman, to be precise, it kept cropping up at random moments. Mind you, she must have been one outgoing, outspoken, determined woman, this Donna Noble that Rose had barely gotten to know. This new Doctor was much more forward, something that the bit of Rose that had waited for a good three years for the love of her life to come back into it greatly appreciated.

At the same time, there was no way she could accept that this was the man she had fallen in love with. He was more than a bit bossier, more than a bit ruder ("Oi! You there, find this in a size up for me, will you?"). There was of course the obvious that he was now part human, but this kept cropping up at the most random of moments ("The teeth of Time Lords are impervious to most forms of plaque, you know. I haven't really mastered the art of brushing mine yet."). Occasionally, very occasionally mind you, he would do something surprisingly feminine in nature, but would manage to cover up its femininity with something oddly Doctor-ish ("Let's go shopping. The TARDIS may grow up to be bigger on the inside, but she isn't born with a fully stocked wardrobe. We'll need one if we go to any strange habitats.").

He wasn't the same man, but he was close. So close and yet so far away from what her Doctor was that it was almost too hard. She didn't think she could push him away, because that wouldn't be fair. Not to him and not to her, as she was glad to at the very least have the close friend she'd first found in the Doctor. The rest had come later, though when exactly, she wasn't sure. Pushing him would be like starting over, back at the beginning, all those years ago when she had first found herself stuck here, but worse. Her mum wouldn't understand, just that she had pushed away the man it seemed she loved. She hadn't exactly spent her time here making friends. Sure, she had acquaintances, but all she really had was her family and this Doctor. She couldn't bring it upon herself to push him away, too.

It was unimaginably difficult to predict her future with the man strutting around the store in front of her. Half the time, she couldn't see herself living any sort of life that didn't include him and the eccentricities she really did love about him. The other half of the time, she couldn't fathom living – even temporarily – with a man who was so glaringly not the Doctor.

More than anything else, she thought, time would tell. With the Doctor, things were always that way. Nothing was sure until enough time had passed to make it plausible, but by the time it was plausible it was already over.

On that morning when she first met the Doctor, she never would have guessed, had someone told her, that she'd soon be traveling across space and time with a big-eared alien. Once she'd met him, she never would have believed that she'd save his life, or travel with him, or matter to him, or have any sort of influence over him. Even when they were friends – just friends, proper mates, no love involved – or none that they'd admit – she'd never have imagined that he would burn up a star to say goodbye to her, and never even say it.

She never would have guessed there would be goodbye. On and on forever, that was Rose and the Doctor. The one constant in her life, and then, just like that, poof! No more constant change, no more constant adventure. It went from nothing being constant except for the one thing that had to be to everything being constantly lacking.

* * *

"Sorry, what was that?" The Doctor looked at Rose. He'd known she wasn't paying a bit of attention once he had gotten into the middle of describing the All-Star Mega-Mall on Rox-Fom-5. She'd also let him ramble on way too long about the absurdity of their catchphrase ("Carrying you from star to star, one pair of converse at a time."), and when he had "tried on" his original shoes three times in a row to see if she was paying attention, she hadn't noticed.

He knew she was distracted, but he let it go. He could easily guess why she was distracted, and he didn't blame her. He was distracted himself – he just kept up the constant dialog for appearances. He knew exactly what was plaguing her, because something similar was plaguing him. But he had to be stronger, had to not let her know that he knew – though he knew that she knew, on some level, that he knew. All the troubles he was facing were threatening to become something monstrous. Instead, he let it all go.

"Black or brown converse with the suit?"

A/N: Review if you want; I don't care. Also, I think I've recruited myself a beta, but as they haven't gotten back to me on how they want to edit chapters, I've uploaded this before they've seen it. But you may see updated versions of this and the last few chapters, and much better versions of future chapters, being uploaded soon.