DISCLAIMER: NOPE, IT HASN'T CHANGED. STILL DON'T OWN IT...
A/N Okay, okay. I know I missed my yearly Christmas chapters. First of all, I am sooo sorry. I wanted to get them done, I really did. I missed writing them more than you did reading them I'm sure. Second of all, I'll make it up sometime and have Christmas in July or something. Third, I hope you will like this chapter, regardless of the wait. It's a little odd, I think, but it was fun to write and play with imagery and symbolism a bit. The song is Miracle by Vertical Horizon. Merry Belated Christmas and Happy New Year!
But he's not you... It's still not right... I came all that way to find you... the Doctor's still you. In the long hours of the night, these are the words that haunted the most, the words driven like nails into his very soul. Did he indeed have a soul? Is a meta-crisis worthy of such a thing? The wire in his shaking hands certainly didn't seem to think so. Shimmering gold, it mocked his pain and confusion, glittering regardless of the clumsy hands that couldn't remember what to do. Shards of glass, the last remnants of the lamp's shattered life, hid behind shreds of scattered metal, taken forcefully from the toaster and the laptop lay vulnerable with all covering stripped from it, it's inner workings painfully displayed. All around him, lay broken pieces, scattered memories, scraps that didn't have a home.
He reached for a memory chip, slicing his finger on a hidden slip of glass. Heedless of the stabbing pain, he continued his work, blood dripping onto the sheets of metal, painting a lonely portrait on his dim reflection. Faster, his fingers flew, flaying wires, snapping circuits and burning skin on stinging electricity. For all his efforts, nothing followed it's intended course. Brittle metal snapped unexpectedly, trembling hands, too big for their job, spoiled intricate work. What took hours to make, crumbled in few short seconds and crazed frustration blew fuses faster than calming breaths could cure them.
Sparks lit the cotton of his shirt sleeve, biting his skin in fiery jowls. Mumbling strings of phrases that didn't belong together, he forced them out without even second glance at his angry red burns. Still muttering low, he took to the fractured mess with greater ferocity, never realizing the memory of Rose's words had become a bitter mantra thrown like curses into the dark apartment.
Another cut across the palm, and he hurled the offending scrap away, scowling when it smashed against the photo on the wall. Together they plunged to the unforgiving floor in a shriek of broken glass. He picked up the broken frame, smearing blood across the smiling faces. Anger caught in his throat, forcing tears where injury could not. Cold metal of the frame, bent beyond repair, and now the photo, stained beyond recognition. He couldn't even remember the day it had been taken, the occasion to have procured such happiness worth capturing. It was all gone now, joining the hazy remains of the rest of his life.
He pulled at the metal, trying to bend it back to it's whole, untainted memory. But it was unyielding under his hand, refusing any persuasion. The picture tore in tandem with his heart, falling like a dead man to the floor.
"Mend!" he cried uselessly, hating how helpless he felt. "Mend you blasted thing!"
Broken and lost, he sunk to the floor, catching his head in his hands, making a blood bathed mess of his hair. Great shuddering sobs stole over his body, attacking his ribs and chest with violent battering.
"Doctor?" A quiet, frightened voice from the bedroom fought through the sound of his madness, but driving it deeper as well. This voice owned the hateful words, those poisonous vipers biting at his nonexistent soul. "What's happened?"
"It won't mend," he whispered, the words barely making it through his clenched jaw. "Nothing will mend. It's all broken."
A soft hand fell on his, tugging it away from his face. He recoiled, hissing in pain.
"Here, let me see," she soothed, pulling more gently at his hands. Like a child, he followed in blind obedience, allowing his fingers to open under her ministrations. Cuts and burns marked his battle wounds, fresh and inflamed. She sighed sadly, doing the best to catch the blood with the bottom of her shirt- his shirt- she was wearing his shirt and nothing else. It surprised him, like a ray of light in the darkness. Why couldn't he seem to remember? Or think at all for that matter...
"You've got to be more careful." Her voice was a lullaby, caressing his fragile mind and reminding him of happy memories he had clothed in despair.
His eyes, starved of all things beautiful, sought for her face, relearning every detail as if for the first time. When her eyes finally rose from mangled his hands, his tears started again in earnest. He looked into her eyes and found in their reflection his own splintered soul. In a rush, clarity was restored and he cried even harder for the return of sanity.
"Rose," carried on his breath, her name fell like a plea. Understanding lit in her face and she pulled him into a safe embrace. This wasn't the first time he had lost himself and it wouldn't be the last, but no matter how many times it took, how many broken photographs, how many sleepless nights ending in a blood stained shirt, she would stand by him. What he couldn't seem to mend, her capable hands always did. He breathed in her scent, subtle and warm with familiarity, feeling peace being restored. His own sweet miracle, her tender care was all he needed to remind him of his own identity. He was the Doctor, ancient and wise, but still so vulnerable inside. But most important of all, he was hers and she was his. Doctor and Rose, two different hearts, beating together, for one beautiful life.