Desperately sorry for the LONG hiatus between this and the last update, and I know I don't deserve it, but I hope you all read and enjoy this anyway; reviews optional but appreciated and bound to get even more chapters out of me, especially as these fingers are itching to write again.

Set during Doomsday right at the end as the Doctor's image disappears from Bad Wolf Bay.

Chapter 59 – Corners

Oh, how he loved cutting corners. Rules or no rules. Rules preferred, if he was being honest. How he loved breaking the rules. There'd never been a time when he hadn't done so when he'd known he could, especially if it would help him at a certain task, which usually involved him saving someone, or lots of someones.

Now, as he watched Rose's image fizzle and fade, replaced by the view of the cold, hard surface of his TARDIS, his brain worked at its usual 32,000 miles per hour, searching as always for a way around defeat. A way to cut corners. A way to break the rules. And the rules were steadfastly clear in this case. Unless he wanted to destroy a multitude of universes simultaneously, Rose was now forbidden to him. As forbidden as she'd ever been but now out of touch.

There were ways. Oh, there were ways. There were always ways to break the rules, almost always a way to cut corners. And there it was right in front of him. He knew exactly what to do, the exact steps to take, each and every one of them, and in what precise order they'd have to be taken.

But he had limits. Oh, he had limits. He hadn't before Rose really. Before Rose. He hadn't had limits like he did now. And that was the irony of the whole situation. Rose had made him more human in the only way that really mattered.

Oh, he'd considered it. Seeing her tears made his fingers itch to flip the switches, turn the knobs and press the buttons that would get him back to her, get her back into his arms where he had been so sure she belonged. He thought about it. Oh, he thought about it.

But that wasn't all he thought about. He also thought about the worlds that might exist within those universes, of all the beings that lived between and throughout them. Of all those who would float out of existence all so that he could have his Rose back. For one tiny millisecond, he hated that Rose had made him this way. So selfless. Like her. His old self wouldn't have hesitated. Especially not when it came to Rose. No, he hadn't had limits back then.

Yes, for one single moment. He wished he'd never acquired those limits because he if he hadn't, she'd be back with him already. Selfless like Rose. That was it. Because even though she desperately hoped with all her soul that there was a way and even though, like him, she might consider the option, she'd never let him take it.

So, yes, there were ways of cutting corners, of breaking all the rules, even his own. Way a way to miss an opportunity. Oh, there were ways. They were there, and he was perfectly capable of going through with each and every one. But he couldn't, and the perfect irony was that he was doing it for her and everything she'd done for him, the person she'd turned him into.