Set after (and spoilers for) Journey's End. Slight references to the events of seasons 5 & 6.

xx

They both knew that their new lives together would not be easy. Although he was part human, in many ways he was still very Time Lord and living life in order did not always suit him. And for her, well, she loved him dearly but when had living with the Doctor ever been easy?

During her time on the Tardis, she'd never seen him draw. But when he showed up one day with a sketchbook tucked under his arm, she thought little of it, figured it was simply the next in a series of attempts to keep himself busy. It was only a few days later, when she noticed him brooding over the pages and realized that he hadn't been sleeping well, or at all, that she confronted him.

He didn't reply at first, at least not with words. He handed her the sketchbook and watched her face intently as she flipped through the pages. She was at first struck only by his skill; was there anything he wasn't good at? After a few pages though, she realized what was odd. It was the same people, over and over again.

Two were women, one with longer hair and dangerously short skirts and imperious eyes. The other was older, with shorter hair, and carried a sorrow about her despite her charming smile. Sometimes a man with a confused, slightly harried expression joined them.

There were pages and pages of them, along with Daleks, Roman legionnaires (of all things!), sunflowers, stone angels, a large, strange, foreboding box, an eerie crack in the wall of a child's room, and she turned the pages trying to make sense of it all when a drawing near the back of the book made her stop.

The man he'd drawn had impossible hair and a face to match, but she barely saw the rest of it for his eyes. They were the same playful and desolate eyes she woke up to every morning. They were ancient.

"He's…you. You've regenerated? What happened? How…?"

She looked up at him, panicked. He frowned slightly and ran a hand through his own similarly impossible hair.

"It's…we're…we're still connected, somehow. I see bits of him, bits of his life sometimes. I don't really know much more than that."

"The other people…who are they?"

He shrugged and looked away. "Companions."

She sensed he was avoiding something, but it was obviously troubling him and she decided not to press him further. She knew he'd tell her more when he was ready.

She was right, and over time she was able to piece bits of the story together. He'd regenerated after an extended run-in with his arch nemesis, the Master, picked up a new companion, Amy, and Amy's now-husband and gone on living his life much in the way he had before, although he now sported a bow tie and had a penchant for silly hats.

She knew her Doctor missed this life; even if he'd never truly lived it, it was all he knew. All the alien-fighting thrills her new universe could provide were nothing compared to having the entirety of time and space at his fingertips.

At least he would talk to her about these things whenever the sketchbook appeared again. He would not explain the significance of the older woman.

"She's from my future. That's it. There's nothing more to it," he'd told her, as close to yelling at her as he'd ever been.

Afterwards, he'd apologized for his overreaction, blamed it on the stress of those visions and the fact that he couldn't sleep for days when they came. She accepted this, and if she had any reservations or doubts, she kept them to herself.

In time, she came to understand this too. People change and move on, even when the person in question is not actually a person but a Time Lord. Such was the right and natural way for things to be, and it was good for this other, newly-faced Doctor that he'd found someone. It was not right and natural for the Doctor to be alone.

And while it hurt, just a little, to think of the Doctor with anyone else, she had her Doctor and he was more than she'd ever dared to hope for. She loved him and he loved her, and as his companion, earthbound as they were, it was her job to ease his heart, to make sure he never felt alone.

xx

I have wondered quite a bit (as have many other fan fiction writers) what life must be like for Rose and her Doctor after Journey's End. While it's certainly true that they love each other, it's a life so different from the time they spent together before, and it must have taken some adjusting. The Doctor seems to be quite bad at living time in order.
And, just to make things exciting, I've thrown in some kind of connection between these two Doctors and something close to the diary that the Doctor kept in Human Nature.
Those of you who've read my other Doctor Who fanfics might notice a few repeated motifs as there are bits and things about the Doctor that I find notable or just amusing.

Love, ribbons, sugar, and endless thanks to my beta, wolfraven80.