I'm sorry, what, 53 reviews? For one chapter? You guys are incredible. That's the most I've ever gotten for one chapter - and I used to write for Twilight! Thank you so much, you really put a smile on my face.
Thank you to trialanderror12, Disney-Princess-In-Disguise, tenrosefanno.1, maruman, NewDrWhoFan, CLee02, miriel celeste, satellitealice, Nabakza, Badwolf001, Gwilwillith, , cutiepup3, MissRAB, CruentusMeretrix, xony, Hollyp13, anon, Sunny angel, s., HesMines, Lena86, Moonprincess92, Kittens Love Doctor Who, MaryMatthesen, Sonofafluffymuffin, Taylor Grace, Raven-Dragonlady84, dejadthisvu, Inomonanimalcrackers, star-Rose-01, TorchwoodIsAwesome, JollyRoger1, DoctorWho13, Dreamcatcher49, mamaXunicorn, Blink33Gal, princess addy, Bri The Amazing, Mommybean, Ayjah, Jazz the soldier boi, EdwardLover4eternity, Meegan, Silver Dragon c, willow626, Bad-Wolf-Jen, Ahn-Li Steffraini, A Who Down in Whoville, lozzy035, DoctorWhoIsMyLife. You guys are so awesome, words can't even describe.
And here we go...
The TARDIS felt colder somehow, the Doctor noticed, as he walked through the doors and into his ship. His plimsolls echoed on the grating with each heavy footstep as he made his way to the console. Where to now? He asked himself. He didn't want to go anywhere. He had always made his decisions with Rose in mind. Now, he had nobody to impress, nobody to show the whole of time and space to. What was the point of travelling without her?
The words 'better with two' made their way through his mind and he sighed. This was going to take some getting used to; being alone - again. It reminded him of that time after the war, and he hated it. Rose had been his salvation after everything that had happened, everything he had done, and everything that he had lost. Now she was gone too.
He made his way to the console before he could change his mind and go back for her. He flicked some switches with heavy hearts and was just beginning to dematerialise the TARDIS when a voice rang out, breaking the eerie silence that had settled in the room.
"And where do you think you're off to?"
"Jackie?" The Doctor asked, surprised. He looked around the room and found her sitting up on the side of the TARDIS wall in the same place she had been when they had gone to Torchwood. It felt like years since then. Had it really been only a few days?
"You were going to leave, weren't you?" she asked as she descended the ladder. Her pale blue dress shimmered in the TARDIS' light. It was more of an accusation than a question.
"I - I was just -" the Doctor stammered, he could feel Jackie's slap already.
"Doctor," she said sternly, reminding him that there was no fooling one Jackie Tyler.
"Yeah, I was,"
"To keep her safe," he replied, looking down at his shoes. He felt ashamed but wasn't sure why. It was the right thing to do, to leave Rose to live her life.
"That's dumb," Jackie told him, crossing her arms disapprovingly.
"What?" The Doctor asked, shocked. "I thought that you of all people, Jackie, would understand. Be happy, even."
"How would you dumping my daughter on some alien planet make me happy? Doctor, she's safer with you than she is with me. I trust you to protect her, to never let any harm come to her, to make her happy."
"But look at what happened with Donna," he argued, "She nearly died three times, Jackie, she nearly died three times." He closed his eyes, breathing deeply. The image of Rose dangling over the hole by her ankle burned behind his eyelids. He could still hear her scream ringing in his ears.
"And you saved her every time," she reminded him. He could tell that she was getting annoyed at him.
"But what if one day I can't?" His eyes flashed open.
"What if one day I get struck by lightning?" The Doctor felt like reminding her that there was no lightning on Sorbinia but chose to save himself from getting a slap.
"How did you know that I was going to leave?" he asked instead.
"It was that look in your eye," she said, taking a seat on the captains chair and staring wistfully at him, "You couldn't take your eyes off her, as if you didn't want to miss a thing, as it you were trying to ingrain every minute detail into your head so that you'd never forget her. I know because I've done it myself. I was going to leave Pete," The Doctor cocked his head at her in confusion, "My first Pete," she clarified.
"Rose was only a baby, and we had no money, and I knew that I needed her to have the best life she could possibly have. So, I packed up, wrote a note, strapped Rose to my chest and was about to leave when I saw him drawing at the table, sketching some new invention, I suppose, but I knew then that, if I left, I'd never know what that invention was going to be. I'd never see his look of joy when he explained how 'this was the one' or get to comfort him when it all fell apart." She paused for a moment to let the Doctor consider this.
"It's the little things, Doctor, that make you want to stay. Only, you don't realise that you'd be nothing without them until you're faced with the prospect of never seeing them again."
The Doctor's eyes widened at Jackie's confession but he kept silent. He needed time to think. Jackie watched him for a moment or two before she nodded.
"I'm going to go back to the party now," she said, standing up and walking towards the door, "I trust you'll make the right choice."
He watched her leave before collapsing into the captain's chair. A second later the door flung back open and he stood up, watching as Jackie strode towards him. He knew it was coming before it happened. SLAP! Jackie's palm collided with his cheek with enough force to make his head spin.
"That's for leaving without saying goodbye," she said. She raised her hand and slapped his other cheek just as hard, "And that's for leaving in the first place." She left without another word and, once the door was shut behind her, the Doctor collapsed back into the chair.
A million thoughts were flying through his head. When did he stop being the cleverest person in the room? He wondered before chuckling, the second Jackie Tyler walked into his life. And she was right; Rose was no safer with on Sorbinia than she was anywhere else. Jeopardy friendly didn't even begin to cover what that girl was.
He knew that, if he stayed, it would only be a matter of time before his carefully erected walls came crashing down around him and he'd be able to resist Rose no more. But did he want to resist her? All of his reasons for keeping his distance seemed silly now. He thought back to that almost-kiss in the TARDIS days previous. It had felt so good to be close to her, perfect even. He wanted more of that. Forever.
But could he be that selfish? Could he take her away from her family just so that he didn't have to be alone? She'd told him that she'd stay with him forever, but could she really have meant it?
Forever with Rose Tyler? He could handle that. Forever with him? That was a different thing entirely.
He sighed, dragging his hands down his face and pulling the skin taut. Could he...love her? He shook his head, that particular word was supposed to be locked away in his brain inside the 'never-ever' box, alongside domestic and carpets and Jack. Could he do it though? Give himself to her entirely. Love and be loved?
Would the universe be that kind?
No. He knew the answer to that question. No, the universe would not be that kind. He couldn't be with Rose because someone would take her from him or use her to get to him. He couldn't let that happen, he wouldn't. But that didn't mean he had to leave her behind. He could love her from a distance. He's been doing it for over two years now.
The little things, Jackie had said. It's the little things that make you want to stay. Little things like how Rose's hand fits his like no other, how her smile can light up a room, how insanely clever she was even without having an extensive education, how her eyes go wide with each new discovery, how she feels wrapped up in his arms, how she always knows just what to say, how without her he can barely breath.
He was suddenly hit by the realisation of how thick he was. Mr. Thick-thick-thickity-thick-face from Thicktown, Thickania didn't even begin to cover it. He was the Mayor of Thicktown, the Emperor, The King, The... Basically, he was being a right sodding idiot.
He was out the door in a flash, striding back towards the party. How could he have been so stupid to think he could go on without her? How could he have run away from an alien without her hand in his? How could he cleverly save the day without Rose to show off to?
When he made it back to the celebrations, he hovered by the edge of the dance floor, trying to locate his Rose amongst the remaining dancers. He couldn't see her anywhere and was starting to panic when he felt a small hand slip into his.
"Decided to make an appearance, then?" Rose asked, leaning her head on his shoulder.
"Yeah, sorry about before, I just had some things to think through," he replied, smiling down at her. She lifted her head up off him and searched his eyes.
"What sort of things?"
"Stupid, Time Lord things," he replied, giving her hand a squeeze, "Nothing you need to worry about."
"If I don't need to worry about them, how comes you do?" she inquired, quirking her eyebrow. His Rose Tyler, always asking the right questions.
"Who said anything about worrying?" he asked her, grinning his special 'Rose grin', "I'm here to party."
Rose snorted and he feigned offence.
"Did you bring your banana?" she asked, her tongue sticking out between her teeth, "You know you should never go to a party without one." He stared at the pink muscle that was bound to be the death of him. If Rose noticed his sudden distraction she paid no attention, instead she grabbed his other hand and dragged him out onto the dance floor, shooting him a grin. He was a fool to think he could ever live without that grin.
It was late now, and many of the newlyweds had retired to their homes with their guests, leaving plenty of space for the Doctor and Rose to dance.
"Reckon you still got the moves?" Rose teased, placing one hand on his shoulder.
"Oh, I've got the moves," he replied, letting one of his hands drift down to settle on her waist, leading her in a slow waltz through the small crowd left on the floor. The music was upbeat, hardly the right music for them to dance in the formal way that they were now. It was backwards, it was strange, it was entirely out of the ordinary, and as the others stopped to watch them dance to a song that only they could hear, the dancing pair knew that nothing was more perfect.
The music changed a moment later, once the DJ realised that nobody was in the mood for the peppy songs he was playing, and was replaced by a slower song which Rose and the Doctor recognised instantly.
"Now for all you newlyweds still here, grab your spouse," The DJ called over his mic, "This is an Earth song that I came across a few years ago, this is 'Your Song' and the last song of the night."
It's a little bit funny
This feeling inside...
Finished with their elaborate dancing, the Doctor and Rose slowed to a revolving circle, holding each other's eyes as they turned slowly.
I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind,
That I put down in words how wonderful life is,
Now you're in the world.
Rose finally broke from their intense gaze and laid her head on his chest, shutting her eyes, wrapping her arms around his neck, and breathing in his musty scent.
The Doctor smiled gently as he lay his head atop hers, wrapping his arms around her petite waist. He could see Jackie and Pete dancing slowly near the edge of the floor. His eyes met Jackie's and she smiled warmly at him. He smiled back, hoping that she knew just how grateful he was that she made him come back. He knew he'd never make it up to her.
I know it's not much but, it's the best I can do,
my gift is my song and this one's for you.
As he held Rose in his arms, the Doctor couldn't think of anywhere in the universe that he'd rather be. He couldn't tell her, he knew that. If she was going to stay, she could never know. These moments were all they could have, and they were going to have to be enough.
He closed his eyes as they made their final circles to the soft melody of the song. He never knew he could feel like this. After Gallifrey he never thought he could be happy again, let alone be in love. It was maddening and exhilarating and terrifying and perfect all at once.
He couldn't even remember why he ever wanted to leave her, or how he managed to turn his back on her. She was perfect. He needed her, he knew that now, needed her more than he had ever needed someone in his life. And, as the song drifted to a close and he stepped back from his precious human, he knew that nothing was ever going to make him leave her side again.
I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind,
That I put down in words how wonderful life is,
Now you're in the world.
"Bye, Mum!" Rose called out the door of the TARDIS. The Doctor was already inside, fiddling with the controls whilst she said goodbye to her parents once more, "Bye, Dad! We'll see you soon!" Rose gave them a final wave before shutting the door behind her and turning to face her Doctor. He grinned at her and pulled down the handbrake. The TARDIS rattled and their grins doubled in size.
Rose made her way to his side and clutched at the console. He smiled down at her as they hurtled through the vortex.
They had decided to stay for breakfast after the wedding but by eleven o'clock the Doctor was itching to get going, his need for adventure getting the better of him as he practically dragged her from the hotel restaurant.
Rose had left her mother with a promise of visiting often and the Doctor even hugged Jackie goodbye. Rose decided not to comment on this particularly odd behaviour, the Doctor had been acting weird for a while but he seemed okay now. She knew she'd have to get him to talk eventually but, for now, she was just glad to be with him, ready to face a brand new adventure.
I would also like to point out that I wrote this before I found out that William and Kate were having that song played at the Royal Wedding! I hope you liked it - see, I hate angst as much as you do!
And that's it folks, sorry it's kind of a sucky ending... hope you liked. :)