The first New Year in the parallel universe for Rose and 10.2. Thanks always to Han-Skywalker, for reading this first and helping me not to confuse people.
Rose clung to the doorframe, laughing hysterically at the Doctor, the new Doctor, but the Doctor all the same. It was a few minutes after midnight, and the two of them had run downstairs to the kitchen to grab another bottle of champagne for the Tyler's New Year's party. Unfortunately, the Doctor's opening of the bottle had been a little too energetic. The resulting rush of liquid had left the Doctor dripping wet, blinking in shock, and choking on champagne. Rose only laughed harder as he blindly grabbed one of her mother's useless, decorative towels, and proceeded to ruin it by sopping the champagne out of his hair. He glared at Rose in mock anger, taking his time to dry himself as dignifiedly as possible, which just made him look more ridiculous.
Suddenly he froze, soaked towel in hand.
Rose's laughter died. "Doctor, what is it?"
He shook his head as if to clear it. "He's gone."
"Who?" She crossed the room to him, gently taking the towel from his hand.
"What?!" Rose sat down hard in a kitchen chair. Just because she loved this Doctor, didn't mean she loved the other any less. "How can you tell?" she whispered.
The Doctor sat beside her and took her hand in both of his, cradling it almost absently. "I didn't think there was any connection between us; I've never felt anything from him before. But suddenly, I could tell he was gone. He's regenerated."
She leaned into his arms, feeling like the wind had been knocked out of her. "I still wish he'd said goodbye," she said, blinking back tears. The Doctor held her tight as she replayed the last time she had seen the original Doctor. The memory of the grief in his eyes as he'd let her go cut her like a knife, but also left her with a strange niggling thought that she'd seen it before. She followed that thought, grateful to escape from the painful memories of Bad Wolf Bay. Why'd this have to happen on our happy New Year? And somehow the thought of New Year collided with the forgotten memory and everything came rushing back. "Oh!" Rose sat bolt upright in shock, almost hitting the Doctor in the face with the back of her head. To his surprise, she was smiling.
"What?" he asked, moving his head out of the range of any more sudden jerks.
"He did say goodbye." Her eyes were shining. "I just remembered. On New Year's Eve, 2005, I talked to this drunk bloke and he told me I was gonna have a really great year." She laughed. "I haven't thought about it since. But it was him, long coat, brown suit, trainers and everything." A sobering thought dimmed her smile. "He was in so much pain. I didn't realize it then, but I remember his eyes. He wasn't drunk... he was dying. And he was saying goodbye."
The Doctor and Rose sat in silence, deep in their own thoughts. Finally, the Doctor picked up a glass of champagne and raised it. "To the Doctor – may his new regeneration bring him adventure, happiness, and the healing of all his loss. And ginger hair."
Rose laughed and clinked her glass against his. "To the Doctor, to us, and to a Happy New Year."
They each took a sip, cementing the wish.
And then an obviously tipsy Jackie Tyler burst into the kitchen. "Where's that champagne? What've you been doing for –" The Doctor grabbed the ruined pink towel from Rose and tried to hide it behind his back, but it was too late. Jackie's eyes narrowed in anger, and she snatched the towel from his hands and chased him up the stairs, beating him unceasingly with it as he desperately babbled all the reasons why this was not actually his fault. Rose followed with the champagne, crying with laughter. Some things never change.
Some things never will change. The Doctor changes his face, his personality, his catchphrase, but he remains the Doctor. And we always fall in love with him all over again. Happy New Year!