Yep, another in my Alternatives series. This one based off of The End of the World.

Not What He Expected

He had been looking for something in Rose. Something that he didn't know if she had or not. Something he wasn't even too sure had a name or not right then.

Either way, she failed that. He felt horrid now, and he was sure he was supposed to be feeling better. Have a shoulder to lean on so to speak, but it didn't feel like he had it. It was missing, and he wasn't too sure what 'it' was to begin with.

He had just told her his planet was gone, that there was a war and it was destroyed and how lonely that made him feel. She had looked up at him, smiled a bit and said "You've got me." He didn't know if it was the words, the smile she had used while saying them, or the way she had said it. It could be a combination of all of them. The only thing he knew was that she hadn't even mentioned the words 'I'm Sorry' that nearly everyone, after hearing the story or learnt what species he was, would say, including Jabe and she had been a tree.

He managed to put on a fake smile for her as they aimlessly walked the streets, looking for a chip shop to eat at, before...before what? She hadn't been sure if she was going to stay with him, and then she heard what had happened and now what? He was a lost cause? A pet? Someone who needed cheering up for the sake of cheering up?

All the while she was going on about how she understood how he must feel. She had just watched her planet blow up. She had watched her people die. She had been the last human.

All of which was a lie. She couldn't possibly understand how he felt, she had been too busy trying to get out a door and had her eyes closed to be looking when her planet blew. Her people had long since moved on from the Earth and he had told her that himself, and Earth had been empty for quite a while. And the universe by that time was packed full of humans roaming space and spreading further out than any other species ever dared go.

He wished she'd stop her deluded lying and get off his back about his world. He didn't want to talk about it. So, instead, he laughed and he smiled. All the while wondering what it was that Rose was missing and if it had a name or not.

She had no idea what he was feeling, even on a basic level most people would get. Miserable. She took the mask as his true emotions.

He then remembered the word to use. Empathy. She could smile and wave her hands and pretend all she wanted, but she lacked it. Empathetic, maybe, she'd have to be to get on well with her job at the shop, before he had blown that up anyway, and it was a handy skill one could learn. But proper empathy, the natural sense of what others were feeling...she lacked it.

She only cared for herself, and what was important to her. She was quite a good little actor most of the time though.

How very human.

Well, he would go and pick a human for a travelling companion. He'd just better get used to it.

He felt like he had to learn the entire species from the beginning again anyway. He hadn't travelled in quite a while and this was the first journey for him with someone in the TARDIS since the beginning of the War.

In some ways, he too lacked empathy now. So he guessed in this incarnation he wasn't that different from Rose.

He wondered if that meant they'd bump heads a lot, or if they'd get along.

Only time would tell him that one.

And that he had plenty of.