Disclaimer: I don't own Dr. Who. I'm just someone who got struck by a series of plot bunnies who won't leave me alone. Oh btw, you WILL need a BOX of tissues. Just saying…
He had known what was going on long before Rose had suspected anything. Truth be known he knew it was coming at some point anyway. In the nearly 60 years he had been in this world he had seen a lot of things, good and bad.
He and Rose had laid Jackie to rest 23 years ago. She had died of an aneurism one night. Pete found her the next morning. She had gone down stairs at some point to make a cup of tea. She had just taken a step back, sat down… and was gone. Pete wasn't the same after that. He sold the manor. To be honest, no one could blame him with the memory of Jackie there all around him. He found a flat for seniors where he could live happily by himself. He made it through another 9 months before he passed in his sleep. They laid him to rest next to Jackie in St. Mary's church yard. They were born in different worlds but they would spend eternity together.
If he thought that his world shifted when James was born, the day James laid his own son into the Doctor's arms had nothing on it. James had named John, after him. And now John has his own son. Patrick was 11 years old now and loved to play chess with his Grandpa Doctor. Verity had three daughters of her own. When she would vent to Rose about them during their teenage year Rose would only laugh at her and say "Payback is a pain isn't it?"
Mellissa, Ellen's oldest daughter, came to live with us a couple years before her mum died. Ellen was family, but we still needed the help. James and Verity were old enough to understand what her death meant but little Evee was only 7. For weeks she continued to hunt the house over for Ellen. No long after Pete died, Mellissa retired with her husband to the country, and Hannah, Ellen's granddaughter, joined us. Now she was well into her 60's but she is still just as spry as ever. I can here her coming with a tea tray even now. Just like her grandmother, a cup of tea will cure all ills.
Evelyn Tyler Smith-Cook now ran Torchwood. Rose had released control of the CEO position four years ago. To be honest Evee had been running Torchwood day to day operations off and on for the past 15 years. As she got older people use to say that just as James was his father's son, Evee was her mother's daughter. Evee had married a Torchwood operative two years after Verity. They had actually met at her wedding. Sadly 6 years later Evee was moving into our house. Her husband had sacrificed himself so that his team could escape from an alien attack, leaving her with a three year old and a 4 month old. I was again playing the part of father to a grandchild. It's not that I minded, just… something that I had hoped wouldn't happen again.
Rose has been wonderful these past few years. Every night she would help me from the Library up to our room. I have gotten arthritis in my knees so the stairs are sometimes painful. Rose teases me that it is from all the running for my life I have done. I must say it has been humbling having to use a cane, though the fact that I can still trip trouble makers with it has made it more bearable.
I quit going on missions about 15 years ago. I just couldn't do it anymore; my human body just wouldn't let me. If it wasn't for a cohort grabbing the back of my jacket, and yanking me back I would have been killed. My reflexes were no longer what they once were. Oh I can keep up intellectually quite well. I still can make the techs at Torchwood's heads spin if I care to, but it isn't the same.
Oh I still consult when things go pear shaped, how could I not with Rose and Evee in the house. No, I've spent the past 15 years enjoying the simpler things in life: A good cup of tea, taking the grandchildren and great grandchildren to the park, and finally traveling with Rose again. With Evee keeping things under control back home Rose and I got to do what WE wanted to do. In his will Pete left me something, a car. No just any car, but the same car that Rose and I drove shopping all those years ago. In the glove box was a note, and voucher for a pair of tickets from him.
Dear Rose and Doctor, It may be 50 years too late but I promised to make it up to you. Go to Rome; find those hidden places you wanted. Most importantly, leave your mobiles behind. Yours, Pete
That is what we did and more. We toured Rome, Spain, France, and everywhere in between. We floated around like leaves in the wind. I began to feel like THE Doctor again. Well, sort of. I wasn't defending the universe everyday, but I was spending my days going where ever I liked with Rose, just like I use to. And it was fantastic.
And then it began to happen. Oh it was gradual but I knew it was happening. I didn't tell Rose when I started to get out of breath. I blamed it on my arthritis acting up. I was a coward. I didn't want her to know. Over time it became more and more obvious. I knew she knew, I knew, and that I knew she knew that I knew but we didn't speak of it. The day that I passed out in the Library and lucky Evee found me was the day I had to face what was going on.
Just to be safe the ambulance took me to Torchwood medical. They didn't want to try to explain the variances in my physiology due to being half time lord to a regular doctor. The scans that followed told me what I already knew. My single heart was weakening. It was growing tired. They gave my family options. I was too old for a transplant, and there were surgeries to assist my heart to keep beating, but nothing to strengthen a heart that had beaten over a long full life. It was decided that they would implant a devise to make sure my heart continued to beat. I wasn't ready to leave yet, and this would give me a few more years.
The whole ordeal scared Rose more than she chose to admit. Not since that fateful day in Barcelona had she ever come that close to loosing me. Like that day so long ago it made my world shift. That day so long ago I realized I was human. Oh I knew I was human back on the Tardis with Donna, but that day I ran face first into the fact that I could die. No regeneration, no new face, no new personality waited for me when I died. I had one life to live, and I did NOT want to waste it. Looking back I have found I haven't wasted it. I could die tomorrow happy, but I knew that my family and Rose were not ready. I spent the next 3 years getting my life back in order. Everyone in the family thought I was so much better, but not Rose. She wasn't fooled. She knew me too well. For a little while she fought me on my plans, but then one day she came to me and said "The Doctor has a job to do, and I promised I would help whatever it was. What do you need me to do?"
I told her, "Keep you promise of forever." She hugged me and cried into my shirt as I held her. She wept her self to sleep that night, but from then on she was as good as her word.
The past year has been a rough one. My heart has continued to weaken. I can no longer do the stairs. Over the past couple months I can no longer even go to the bookshelves in my room. I no longer have the strength to get dressed in anything more than pajamas. At least Rose has the sense for them to NOT be striped. Each night Rose sleeps next to me, as she has for more than 55 years. And each night she wonders if it will be her last with me. At the dawn of each day she checks to make sure I am still with her, and I smile.
This morning I didn't eat much for breakfast. I just don't have the strength anymore. Looking out the window from my bed I see the cloudy sky and know it won't be long.
There was a light knock on my door, "Doctor, may I come in?"
"I'm awake." The Doctor tried to sit up a little more as Hannah entered carrying the tea tray.
"Feel up to a cup of tea this morning?" She sat the tray down on a side table.
"Yeah I would like one." The Doctor accepted the tea cup from her. It was lukewarm so he didn't burn himself but it was tea at least.
Hannah moved about the room dusting and picking up things. "Gretchen is down stairs visiting with Ms Rose. Would you like company in a little while?"
"If they would like." The Doctor looked into the dregs of his tea cup, and swirled them.
"I'll send them up in a little while." Hannah adjusted the curtains. "Would you like more tea?"
"No thank you." The Doctor sank back into the pillows.
"Will you be alright sir if I take this downstairs?" Hannah asked as she took away his tea cup.
"Go on I'll be fine." With a smile Hannah left.
The Doctor had almost dozed off when he heard a slight "squeak". Opening his eyes he saw the door was slightly more ajar. Smiling he said, "Come on in little one, I know you are there."
With a giggle a girl about 6 year's old walked in. "Hello, can I come in."
"You are already in Miss Angela."
"Then can I sit with you? It's boring downstairs."
"Come on," He smiled and patted the bed next to him.
Angela scurried over, and climbed up next to him on the bed. "Oh thank you!"
Once she was settled he asked, "Now why is downstairs so boring?"
"All they talk about is the weather, and people I don't know." Angela grimaced.
"That is what adults do." The Doctor took a deep breath. Trying to stay chipper for his great granddaughter was tiring.
"Are you dying Doctor?" She asked him directly.
He knew the others tried to shield the young ones from the harsh things in life, but he never did. He believed in being honest with the children. "I am." He answered simply.
"I've lived a long, long life and I need rest." He placed a hand on the little girl's cheek.
"You spend all day in bed. Don't you get enough sleep?" The girl asked honestly. "Mum always said you recharge your batteries when you sleep. Aren't your batteries charged enough now?"
"My batteries have been recharged so much, that they no longer hold a charge anymore. I'm just worn out." He smiled at her.
"You look it." Angela said matter of fact.
The Doctor chuckled. "Thank you for your opinion little one."
Angela blushed, "What will happen when you die?"
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," Sadly the Doctor squeezed her hand, "but I will go away, forever."
Angela wrapped him in a hug, "You can't go away. I love you!"
The Doctor carefully patted her back. "Angela, there are something's in life, you can not change, and this is one of them."
"But I don't want you to go." She cried.
"Like all adults there are some things we just have to do." He stroked her hair to get her to calm down.
An hour or so later Rose peeked into the room to find Angela asleep with her head in her great grandfather's lap. A moment later Angel's father came in and scooped the sleeping child up, mumbling a goodbye to Rose as he passed her.
Once they were gone Rose was about to shut the door when she heard her name. "Rose…"
She walked over and sat next to him, brushing a few loose strands of his now grey hair out of his eyes.
"My sun is burning out." He said barely over a whisper.
"How much time do you have?" she smiled sadly down at him as she took his hand.
"A few minutes…" He whispered.
As the tears leaked down her cheeks, "I still don't know what to say to you."
He tried to squeeze her hand, "I got what I wanted."
"What was that?" with her free hand she wiped the tears.
"I got John Smith's wish." He took a struggling breath. "I got to spend… my life with the woman I loved."
"And you kept your promise to me." She smiled tearfully, "You spent the rest of your life with me, and I wouldn't have changed a moment of it."
"You wanted forever…. I'm sorry I… couldn't give you that." His eyes were starting to droop.
"You gave me more than enough." Her tears dripped onto the blanket.
With great effort he opened his eyes one last time, "I …love you… Rose."
"And I love you too," She kissed him one last time. "Go to sleep Doctor. You have earned it."
"Thank you…." Could barely be heard as he closed his eyes.
Rose sat with him, her right held his hand, and her left on his chest. She felt him slipping away, with each breath. She felt each weak heart beat as they faded away. It wasn't long before she felt no more. She could do nothing more then weep for the hole that was left in her heart.
Evee found them an hour later. Rose had cried herself to sleep. With Hannah's help they put her to bed in her old bed room. While she slept they began the arrangements. As discussed Evee opened her father's desk to find what she was looking for. Inside were letters to each of the children, and Rose. There was a copy of his up to date Will. There were also the directions for his funeral.
Per his wishes he was buried in his old suit, coat and trainers. The ones that her mum had lovingly kept stowed away in a cedar chest. As they were about to close the lid of the coffin Rose hurried up to it. Silently Evee hoped her mother wouldn't make a scene. Instead she simply pulled two things from her purse. She slid his dark glasses over his nose, and slipped his sonic screwdriver into his coat pocket. Her only words were, "You can't leave with out that."
Then it was over.
Mum quit sleeping in the master bedroom, instead slept in her old bedroom. She said she couldn't stand to sleep in a bed that smelled of him. The sheets had been washed 10 times over, but still she wouldn't sleep there. It wasn't until Evee was looking for something in her father's old closet that she began to understand. Her father's old suits still had this sent of… of… him. She really couldn't explain it. It was the mustiness of something that had been seen a lot of things, yet with a hint of something that reminded her of their 'secret' trips to the confectioners when she was little. It was of youth, and age; of night, and of dark, and of someone who had seen and done much, but kept going anyway. It was who her father was.
She had thought her Mum would be like Granddad Pete, and join the Doctor soon, but she didn't. Her Mum grieved everyday for her father, but she kept going day after day. Her mum did charity work, and loved on her great grand children. She continued going forward with her life for another 14 years before she too began to feel the pull of time on her.
Like my father, she now too returned to the master bed room. I became a great grandmother 3 days ago. Angela gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She named her Rose, after my mother. I think Mum was holding on until she got to see her. The first true smile I had seen on her face in a long time happened when the baby was placed in her arms. Little Rose gave her first smile to her.
They didn't stay long. They didn't want to tire Mum out too much. Before left Angela asked to have a moment alone with Mum. A couple moments later she came out in tears.
Later, when asked what happened Angela would say, "She asked if she could go now. That the Doctor needed her. I told her I couldn't keep him here, and I certainly can't keep her."
It was the next morning that I found mum had passed in the night. Some said they found it odd that it looked like Mum was holding something in her hand; I didn't. Our family has seen and done too much in this universe to think for one moment that the Doctor would let her die alone.
We buried her along side my father. It seemed to be the right thing to do. Time couldn't keep them apart. Different worlds couldn't keep them apart; even death to an extent couldn't keep them apart. Mum once said she promised Dad that she would be beside him forever. I couldn't deny her that.
In the end of all things the Doctor was able to have the one adventure he didn't think could never have, with the one person he didn't think he could have, just not in the way they had planned. And they were happy for it.
Author note: Told you, you would need the WHOLE BOX of tissues. It's been fun the past couple weeks writing these. I'm just glad that every one enjoyed them. In the middle of writing this I got struck by another plot bunny for a different story. Here's to more stories !