Disclaimer: Doctor Who belongs to the BBC and all the grand high Mucky Mucks. No money was made from this. No copyright infringement is intended and any similarity to any story not my own is coincidence.
Title: Flights of Angels
Genre: Doctor Who; AU; angst/tragedy; romance
Timeline/Spoilers: Last few minutes of The End of Time - Pt2 (Big ole spoilers for that)
Summary: Just a small reworking of some of the final moments of TEoT.
Author's Notes: I'm still processing the end, and this is part of this I guess. Essentially, it is the same scene, and most of the dialog comes directly from it. I just wanted to explore some possibilities for the scene. Oh, and the title comes from Shakespeare of course.
Also, I'm not really sure about the POV. I just started writing, and honestly, it wasn't a real conscious choice, it's just what happened. *grin* I hope that I got all the tenses and such correct.
I wanna be here eternally
I want us to keep gazing at each other like this
I can feel you close to me
I can't stay by your side forever
I just want this moment to last forever
He watches quietly from the shadows. He's saved this parting for last, one final farewell, even if it has to be a silent one. He has no intention of saying anything, he just wants to see her, wants to be near her one last time before the end. But his body betrays him and he can't help but give voice to the small groan that alerts her to his presence.
"You all right, mate?"
She turns and looks at him with concern, her eyes bright without the shadow of deeper pains, the quiet darkness, that the Doctor knows he will bring into her young life.
"Yeah," he replies simply, even though there's a bone deep temptation to say so much more. He bites his lip instead.
"Too much to drink?" Rose asks with a bit of a knowing smile, and gentle sympathy.
He forces himself to stand stoic, even as his soul burns.
"Something like that."
"Maybe it's time you went home," she suggests gently, blissfully unaware of all the tangled skeins of meaning her simple words hold.
"Yeah," he says again, because what else can he say? Oh, there are so many things he wants to say, but he is painfully aware that now is not the time. He nods, trying to hold steady beneath the gentle regard of the girl standing before him, and he can't help but wonder what she sees when she looks at him.
"Anyway, happy new year," she wishes him finally, suitably reassured that he's just some bloke that's had a bit too much new year's cheer, but otherwise doesn't need anything else from her.
"And you," he replies, building up his courage and determination to watch her go quietly. But then she is, and he can't help but ask quickly, "What year is this?"
Rose turns in a bright whirl, her golden hair sparkling in the soft snowfall.
"Blimey, how much have you had?" She asks, a hint of laughter in her voice.
"Oh," he replies dismissively, before waiting for an answer.
She smiles, and it's a bright one that's ever so close to the one that's burned into his memory, even through one and half regenerations. He hopes suddenly, that he can carry it like a small, bright candle through his next one, even if it burns his soul just a little bit.
"Two thousand and five, January the first," Rose tells him slowly, just as if he were a small child, or indeed some inebriated bloke coming home from a wild party.
"Two thousand, five?"
Rose nods and gives him a slow smile until he stumbles a little, barely catching himself on the wall behind him. He nearly doubles over and his vision swims.
Unexpectedly, Rose catches him up, and she's all pink, and gold, and shining in his eyes, brighter than even the glow of the Medusa Cascade.
"Hey now, steady on there, mate," she says softly, helping him rise. "Steady on. Are sure you're all right? Maybe there's someone can come get ya, help you home? I've got my mobile, you could call..."
The Doctor blinks, trying to clear his eyes before shaking his head a little.
"No... no there's no one," he interrupts slowly, overwhelmed that even like this, even at this moment, he's certain that there's nothing more glorious than the warmth of her in his arms. And there's something dark, and tempting, and oh so dangerous daring him to break all the precious rules and take her with him, here and now.
"There's no one," he repeats softly. "I didn't even get a kiss."
She laughs unexpectedly then, and he drinks in the delicous sound as greedly as the alcohol that she thinks he's already consumed. Impulsively, she gives him a soft peck on the cheek, and he can't help but marvel at the warm wildness of this girl, his fantastic Rose.
"Well there now," she says with another small laugh.
"Well there now," he echoes with an unintentionally soft whisper, hesitating to meet her eyes, but needing to see them looking into his own just once more. "Fantastic," he murmurs.
"Fantastic?" Rose drawls thoughtfully before surprising him with a proper kiss that makes the world beneath him seem to suddenly still. For the first time ever, he can't feel the movement of time through or around himself. For just this one glorious moment, there is no time; it has stopped as this Rose, who is not quite yet his Rose, nevertheless properly snogs him in the glittering snowfall.
"Well, not quite sure why I did that," she confesses breathlessly when she finally pulls back. "But now you can say you've been kissed, yeah?" She adds with a nervous, almost giddy laugh before stepping back. She tugs a bit anxiously at her over long scarf. "Let's just call it a bit of getting caught up in the spirit of the season, yeah? A bit of something in the air."
He watches as she smiles again, recovering enough to catch a glittering snowflake on her tongue with a familiar, cheeky sort of look in her eyes. For a moment, all the Doctor can do is nod.
"Anyway, have a happy two thousand and five."
She turns to leave again, and still, still he wants, he needs...
She turns back, and he knows she's trying to figure out how exactly he knows her name, but for the moment, he's not sure he cares that he shouldn't have used it now. He calls it the indulgence of a dying man.
"Two thousand, five? Tell you what, I bet you're going to have a really great year."
And unbidden, a thousand and one precious memories burn through his soul and break his hearts. He feels them shatter in his chest like a million stars, and the ache is almost sweet. And again, something deep within sings out to him that he could take her with him, this glorious girl, and she would mend all those broken pieces once more, make him complete and delightfully whole. For a shining moment, he clings to the delusion, before slowly, painfully, letting it go.
"Yeah?" Rose asks, as if his saying so might really make it true.
The Doctor gives her a tight smile in reply, and suddenly her own optimistic one is all the truth in the universe; the only truth in the universe. He can't help but feel his smile warm in response, awed and amazed by the brightness of this girl, by the boundless hope in her her. He feels something tight within uncoil slowly, easing a measure of his pain, turning it into something delightfully bittersweet.
"Fantastic," he adds quietly, still tasting her kiss on his tongue. He savors it like a fine wine or a sugary cupcake, the kind with silver ball bearings on the frosting.
She nods once, thoughtfully, before practically bouncing on her toes.
"See ya!" She says cheerfully, perfectly, more promise than farewell.
Rose whirls, the snow glittering around her like a thousand and one little stars orbiting the center of their universe. She nearly skips, making her way to the glass doors of the council estate. He watches, holding onto the moment for as long as he can.
"Keep running my brilliant girl, but someday, let me catch up."
When Rose turns to smile at him through the glass before running up the stairs, the Doctor knows that it is time and he's glad that he's come here last, glad that he can carry the image of her sweet face with him. He licks his lips once, savoring the memory of finally having her taste on them.
The pain shivers through his long frame and he knows that through all space and time, death has finally found him...