Fractures in a Grey City
Disclaimer: I wish I owned Doctor Who...and David Tennant, come to that...but sadly it is not to be. I'm just playing, all breakages will be fixed...sellotape is a wonderful invention!
Disclaimer Take Two: I also don't own Skoda...David Tennant owns one though...I don't think it's blue but it would be cool if it was.
Disclaimer Take Three: I also don't own 'I'm Still Breathing', it belongs to Katy Perry.
A/N: Second in my 'Another Alternative' series. This can be read as a standalone one-shot but it's more of a follow-on from 'Golden Remnants of Time Travel' (which can be found on my profile) about Alt!Ten and Rose's life together. Apologies for breakages but I was listening to this song on repeat and they just don't like being happy with each other, it seems...although there will hopefully be a happy ending to this series. Oh, and again, if there is any confusion, 'John' is Alt!Ten. So, um, enjoy, I guess...
A/N Take Two: Please remember that all reviews are greatly appreciated so once you've finished reading, have a go at pressing that purdy li'l button at the bottom of the page...Pretty please with an even prettier Time Lord on top?
Say something funny,
Say something sweet,
But don't say that you loved me.
I'm still breathing,
Though we've been dead for a while.
This sickness has no cure,
We're going down for sure.
I'm Still Breathing - Katy Perry
"Everything about you tells me to run and hide." The statement was throwaway, negligible.
"So why don't you?" he enquired, equally conversational.
She shrugged. "I've suddenly developed masochistic tendencies?" He laughed dryly.
"You?" His voice was incredulous, a slight raise in pitch. "I can hardly believe that!"
"People change," she stipulated pointedly. "You did." It wasn't accusatory, but it still stung.
"Touché," he muttered bitterly, remembering the fire and ice, and that leather jacket. No, not remembering, exactly. He felt like a stranger, watching a film that he'd seen too many times. He might have these 'borrowed' memories, but he didn't feel anything for them.
She sat up, wrapping the sheet around herself as the bed dipped slightly to accommodate the shift. She turned her head away from him to look out of the window. The city was grey with the faint light of early morning and the weak, dirty glow from the streetlamp outside illuminated her curtain of bottle-blonde hair; from where he was laying it looked like a halo, tousled and golden.
His long, cool fingers traced gentle whirling patterns up and down her spine. "I look like him. I think like him. Same thoughts. Same memories. Same everything." He punctuated every little phrase with a kiss across her shoulders, down her back, hiding the set smile and gritted teeth that went along with them.
She shivered, but whether it was from the cold room or his words, he couldn't tell.
"Don't Doct…" she trailed off, shifting away from him slightly before correcting herself. "…John. Just don't."
"Why not?" he asked, an astringent edge to his voice. "It's what you want, isn't it? Him. I'm just giving you what he promised, aren't I?"
She gently reached behind her and removed his hand from where it rested on her back. When she finally spoke, she kept her face turned away from his and her voice was thick. "I'm sorry you feel like that. You know where the door is…"
She stood up, the sheets pooling around her silhouetted form. He followed her to the window, winding his arms around her waist as she leant back, her head on his shoulder. "Rose…"
"No." But there was a sense of inevitable surrender in her voice.
"Rose…" he whispered, soft and coaxing as he had done to draw her to Bad Wolf Bay three years ago. She felt old. "Rose…"
"Yes," she whispered. "Stay."
"How long are you gonna stay with me?"
"Forever." And he kissed her like forever was exactly how long they had.
"Marry me." Her hesitation was brief, but it was enough. He'd let himself forget that forever didn't exist. He shook his head sadly. "No. Stupid idea. Forget I said anything."
"It's so dark out there." she remarked. It was a reference to the city in front of them but he felt the undertones hidden in her off-hand words.
"We used to have so much colour."
She turned to look at him for the first time since they had made love. Her hazel eyes searched his, looking for an answer that he would never willingly give.
"When did it go wrong?"
"Was it ever right?" he countered, remembering her protestations that day in Norway. She bit her bottom lip in answer. He nodded, accepting.
"It's over, isn't it?" she said, letting the tears roll down her cheeks as she looked up at him, his hair sticking up at odd angles, highlighted by a mixture of the pale moonlight and the streetlamp.
"I think it's been over for a while…"
"I'll still see you at work, yeah?" she asked, clutching at her last shred of hope that the door wasn't closing just yet.
"No, I don't think so. I'll…go away. Explore a bit, find a new adventure."
"Am I ever gonna see you again?" Something pierced through her heart as she said those words again; a shard of ice disintegrating into powdery white sand.
"If I'm lucky." He grinned weakly, his fingers playing with her hair. She turned her face into his palm, coating it in her tears. She couldn't touch him last time; this time she wouldn't waste the chance.
"I'm sorry." The words felt flat, like they had lost all significance.
"Don't be, Rosebud." She smiled at the affectionate use of his pet name for her. "I always knew that this was the one adventure I could never have." He laughed shortly, rubbing a hand across his eyes. "I really hate being right all the time."
He left her standing at the window, watching the sunrise as he pulled his clothes on and picked up his bag from the easy chair in the corner of the room. He pulled her into one last kiss, soft and lingering; unspoken words transferred by the synchronised movements of their lips.
"I loved y-" she began, but he cut across her.
"Don't. Don't say that, otherwise I won't be able to walk away." Silence. He picked his keys up from the bedside table. He brushed gently against her arm as he walked towards the door. It closed behind him with an echoing click. She turned around, but he was gone. She had never felt so empty.
She turned back to the window, watching him walk down the street towards his blue Skoda. He had wanted to get one of those personalised number plates that said 'T4RD1S', but she wouldn't let him; she hadn't wanted to think of her Doctor every time they drove anywhere, it hurt too much. She realised with a jolt that their relationship had been fractured even then, held together with whispered promises and simple, domestic gestures.
She would be more careful next time. If there was a next time.