A/N: This chapter is dedicated to AzureFalls and Soreye, whose enthusiasm for The Eleventh Hour inspired me to continue this story. Long live Ten!!!

Just a reminder, this story takes place in Series 2, after The Satan Pit.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Without You

Chapter Four

He was just about to knock, when the door opened, and Rose looked up, surprised to see him there. Her hair was a mess and her make-up was smudged a little. She tried to smile, but fresh tears welled up in her eyes. It broke his hearts.

"Hi, Doctor."

"Hi."

"Can we talk?"

----

The Doctor tried to swallow the lump in his throat, but it wouldn't shift. He took a deep breath, and nodded.

"Course we can."

Without looking back up at him, Rose turned back into her room and perched herself on the edge of her bed. The Doctor noticed that she had, uncharacteristically, made her bed. And then he noticed the backpack on the floor. The packed backpack on the floor.

He set the tea down on the dresser before his shaking hands could drop the mugs. Rose glanced at the bag at her feet, then smoothed down an imaginary crease in the pillow. She took a breath to steady herself before speaking.

"Um... I think I'm gonna go home," she said quietly.

The Doctor nodded again, the lump in his throat swelling. "Okay, sure. We haven't visited your mum in a while?" He phrased it as a question, praying that she only wanted to visit.

Rose heard the hope in his voice, and cringed slightly. "No, I mean... I'm gonna leave... and go home."

"Why?" the Doctor asked abruptly.

Rose glanced up to find his face hard and his brow set.

"What's brought this on?"

"Nothing," she replied defensively. "I just... I think its time."

"Why?" There was something behind this, some reason she was not telling him. Why did she think she couldn't tell him?

"There doesn't have to be a reason!" Rose stood up to defend herself.

"Yes, there does, Rose!" The Doctor's voice was getting louder, harsher.

"Yeah well I've got a reason, if you're gonna shout at me!" Fresh tears escaped her eyes as she hauled her backpack from the ground and flung it over her shoulder, stumbling under the weight of it. She stormed out towards the console room.

The Doctor immediately regretted how he had acted. "No, Rose, wait! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to shout! Just think about this!" He rushed to catch up with her, the tea left forgotten on the dresser.

Once he reached the console room, he found Rose staring at the door. "Take me home please," she asked, her voice devoid of emotion. The Doctor, unable to deny her anything she asked, unconsciously starting twisting dials and pressing buttons, making the TARDIS churn and whir until it finally came to a standstill.

Rose stood in the middle of the room, her rucksack at her feet, trying to hold onto the tears that were threatening to escape down her cheeks. The green glowing light that she had gotten so used to was casting a strange shadow against her skin, making her seem like she was already fading away.

"Let me come with you, Rose," the Doctor pleaded. "Something is wrong; let me help you work it out. Please."

Rose rubbed her eyes, trying to summon her courage to make her words sound genuine. "I don't want you to come with me, Doctor."

The Doctor stood in front of her, unable to speak, unable to move, frozen to the spot in shock.

"But... w-why, Rose?" he stammered, confused and bewildered.

Rose took a shaky breath, and closed her eyes for a moment to calm herself before she answered. "I have to. I have my reasons."

"Reasons? What reasons? What reasons could possibly justify us not... being together anymore?" he said quickly.

"It doesn't matter."

"Of course it matters! Please, Rose, just think about it. Sleep on it. Go see your mum for a couple of days... just please don't do this!"

"I've already made my mind up," she replied in a harsh voice. She wanted to cry. She knew she would. She just had to get out of the door first.

The Doctor breath caught on the lump in his throat, and his face drained of colour.

"I'm sorry," Rose whispered, mirroring the words he used on a near daily basis to the victims of circumstance. "I've gotta go."

She picked up her bag and stepped towards the door. The Doctor rushed over towards her, closing the space between them and gripping her upper arms. She refused to look up at him.

"Rose, look at me."
She shook her head, her hair falling into her face. The movement caused the promised tears to fall, flowing down her cheeks to her shirt.

"Look at me!"

She managed to look up at him, and locked her gaze with his tortured eyes.

The Doctor tried again to swallow the lump in his throat, but he couldn't get rid of it. He couldn't believe this was happening. For the second time in his haunted life, he was being separated from everything that was important to him; everything that he lived for was going to walk out the door and he was powerless to stop it.

"Please, Rose," he begged, his voice husky with emotion, "Please don't leave me."

A whimper fell from Rose's trembling lips.

"Rose, what will I do without you?" His voice broke as he spoke.

Rose blinked back fresh tears. She looked up at the man who meant everything to her, and wished he could understand. But he couldn't know. She couldn't let him know.

Without thinking, she reached up to the collar of his shirt and pulled him down to her, pressing her lips firmly to his for a fleeting moment, not risking lingering too long – she couldn't bear to think that this would be the one kiss, the only one true kiss, they could share. She pulled away, and took a deep, shuddering breath.

"See ya, then, Doctor."

"Rose."

She pulled free of his grip and headed to the door without looking back. She couldn't bear to look back. The TARDIS hummed after her, mirroring the Doctor's despair and grief.

"Rose, please..."

Her hand touched the door, and she pushed it open and stepped resolutely out into the dull light of a London afternoon. She let the door close behind her, locking away the pain, and strode away from the blue box and the broken man inside it.

----

Jackie Tyler yawned widely as she made tea for the third time that afternoon. She was just about to call Bev's number for the third time, when the front door crashed open and a figure fell into a sobbing blonde mess at her feet.

Jackie dropped the phone.

"Rose! What's wrong? What the hell has he done now?"