A/N This is a bit intense and over-emotional. The Doctor is probably OOC but I always write him like that so sorry if you don't like it but I do so... yeah. Hope everyone enjoys it and if you read all the way through please review!

Summary: The Doctor's back in the TARDIS and the Plasmavores words are haunting him. What if, when he went back to Martha in the end of "Smith and Jones" that was actually months after the hospital fiasco for him?

Disclaimer: I own no rights to Doctor Who et cetera et cetera. This is purely for harmless, fanatic entertainment.


Laughing At The Darkness

The Doctor turned his head and forced a half-hearted smile onto his face, raising a hand in farewell to the dark woman across the road who had made quite a good companion the past day. He knew she was watching him intently as she spotted him and was unendingly grateful that she was otherwise engaged, giving him enough time to slip into the TARDIS unnoticed as a bus passed by.

It wasn't that he hadn't liked her, it was that he did. He had thought that rushing back into the adventure and adrenaline would be what he needed, always keeping his mind occupied and never thinking about what had happened only four days beforehand.

But he was wrong, so very wrong. It had been too familiar; the hospital reminded him of New Earth, Martha reminded him of her, the Judoon reminded him of a time he was asked by that perfect little blonde if there were aliens who looked like the animals of Earth... and the kiss. The kiss that was a replacement of one he never gave. He had closed his eyes and wished, with all his might, that when he opened them a different girl would be standing in front of him. But of course the universe wasn't that kind and he had turned and fled without a backwards glance because he thought if he saw Martha standing there the sense of betrayal and self-hatred in him would only intensify ten-fold and send him to his knees.

He swallowed roughly and brought his hands up to scrape through his hair as he slouched against the inside of the TARDIS door and almost let himself fall to the ground, chest heaving with the effort to keep harsh, angry sobs from emerging. No, it was too much, definitely too soon.

His eyes slid shut and his fingers clenched at his scalp as the Plasmavores words rang incessantly through his head, the complete truth of those few tiny breaths of air before she had taken him to his death, the one thing that he didn't regret from that trip.

His eyes shot open in fear and shame and denial. Had he really just thought that? Was this it? After everything he had been through, the Time Lords, the Daleks and Gallifrey; was this finally the thing that broke him, made him give up and let himself be killed in a death he apparently longed for without really knowing?

He bounded to the console and leant heavily against it with his outstretched arms, breathing becoming shallow, forced and shakier now than before.

You're quite the funny man. And yet, I think, laughing on purpose at the darkness.

The TARDIS was silent around him as the words flowed rampantly through his head, though he knew the old girl had sent them into the Time Vortex as soon as he had entered.

He had known, subconsciously, but the Time Lord's subconscious was so massive he had never paid attention to just how close he was to losing it.

He thought back to the Racnoss, how Donna thought he was passing judgement and claiming lordship over the Empress and her children as he stood, transfixed. But she didn't know how wrong she was.

He watched the Empress scream and heard the keens of the dying children so far below, and the only emotion he could well up within himself... was envy. His need to save Donna and to not let any humans die had overridden his desires because now, looking at humans, he only ever saw one face and he needed to save her. He wouldn't fail again.

Laughing on purpose at the darkness.

Oh how he was. He was positively hysterical on the inside. He thought of the irony; him telling that beautiful blonde wolf to have a fantastic life, wanting her to live and be happy when he was failing so miserably at doing the same, though he knew, given the chance, she would ask the same thing of him.

He turned and slid down the column of the console and let his arms rest on his bent knees, he knew he wouldn't be leaving the TARDIS again for a long time and he wouldn't go back to Earth for an even longer time.

He already knew that when he was ready, at least partially healed that he return and ask Martha to come along but she'd never know that for him, it had been months since they had last spoken.

The TARDIS gave him a mental nudge. You know what you must do to at least begin the healing my Doctor and you have been avoiding it.

He shook his head and clenched his eyes shut once again as tears threatened their surface, balled fists pushing into his eyelids to stop their escape.

Laughing on purpose at the darkness. I think it's time you found some peace.

But he didn't. He didn't deserve peace. He deserved to suffer and be in pain for all the pain he had caused. For all the pain he had caused her.

Stop avoiding it Doctor, the TARDIS repeated, pushing more heavily on his mind with forceful encouragement. She hated him being in pain and though this would cause him more it was the only way it would ever stop. He was too far in denial and unacceptance. Think of her, stop blocking the memories, stop running away.

"No." He whimpered out through clenched teeth.

You know you must say it Doctor, say it to be free.

"I don't want to be free of her," he moaned as blonde hair, pink sweaters, hoop earrings and wide smiles flashed through his never ending mind.

But you won't be little Time Lord, she'll be free with you. You aren't letting yourself feel it because you believe it to be weakness. But would you call her weak if she were to do the same? Is she weak because she has nightmares every night and wishes for your comfort as we both know she does?

He tried to deny it, deny that they still shared a connection but he couldn't. It was fading but he could still feel her terror at nights, could still hear her screams and sobs as she woke, still feel his own longing reflected back at him.

Is she weak?

"No, never."

She thinks of you often, so now it is your turn. Say the name, call to her, believe in her and that she will be with you to catch you before you fall apart.

His whole body convulsed in a raging shudder and pain welled in him, encompassing his entire being, his arms clenching tightly around his legs.

He felt her then, anguished because the connection was just as strong on her side and she couldn't stand how much he was suffering. Her presence only a whisper on his subconscious but he wanted more, needed her more.

So he drew in a breath and called out to her just as the TARDIS had said.

"Rose." He didn't hear words, he assumed neither did she, but he swore he could almost feel her hand stroking down his cheek in a gesture of unimaginable comfort.

The utterance of her name at last made him break and quiet sobs filled the room as he closed his eyes and imagined she was there with him.

They could both feel it, after this it would be gone and they would be separate, without a connection they had grown so used to in the past two years, flickering out of existence. He could feel her crying with him, could feel her seeking out the equivalent of his hand in his mind so they could hold each other one last time.

As the last spark flickered out he launched his entire body forward, hands and knees coming into sharp connect with the grating as his tears were flung from his eyes at the impact and wetly hit the grating silently.

"Rose!" He called again, this time getting no response.

He didn't move but his tears kept coming and for a moment he hated that the universe could keep going without her in it. He hated that he could, and would, keep on going without her. He hated though, while he still selfishly wanted to die and let another man take on this pain, he couldn't because there were things, people, planets, that depended on him.

It wasn't fair.

It never was.

It never would be again.

He lent back again onto his hunches and dropped his head to his chest, tears ebbing but searing pain still going strong in his chest.

For now there was nothing he could do. He knew if he went out again he would get himself killed again and this time there wouldn't be anyone there to bring him back.

So he sat there, in the TARDIS, with only silence to greet him as a single word past his lips in regretful sorrow one last time.

"Rose."

A/N Yeah, so... bit intense and strange but it popped into my head and I figured I might as well write it because I don't think I've ever read a fic. Based on the Plasmavores words and I thought that was a shame because it was such a good opening for one.

Please review.

I hope everyone liked it!

Thanks,
Metal.