A/N: Inspired by the series 3 episode, 42. Gosh, again - sorry for the angst. BUT. I have lots of happy/fluffy fics in the works, so never fear! XD

Everything But Her

Everything is fading. Memories slip-slide-away and there's bells ringing, somewhere, they must be, you can hear them, somewhere.

Names and faces blur and even your own, that's a mystery. Your identity is a mystery; the contours of the jaw line you shave every day – you can't remember it, can't picture what you look like, or what you have looked like in the past, or what you're here for, or what your purpose is.

Everything is fading. All there is, all there is, is burning.

The language of your planet, your people, but not just that, every language; every language you've ever learnt. You've prided yourself on the importance of words, your outstanding harmony, or maybe it's cacophony, of lexis and knowledge; of semantics, and life, and yet, it's all going, you can't quite grasp it; not a sentence you can make, not a sentence.

Burning, burning, endless.

But one word, for one intention or another, that's still there, hovering, hovering in time and space, in the ether, just there, just there; grab it, grasp it, hold it. You wonder why, but you do not know; no memories of why, just the what, the brute fact, the inconceivable truth that the only word you can remember and think and actually real-life say out loud, gasping it, croaking it out through dry lips and dry mouth as the burn wants to take hold, is the name of a flower but not, you don't know even that; it's just a word, a collection of letters stood side by side for some strange, strange reason.

But this word you know inside your heart, and your mind, and your soul, it's more than a word, it must be, why else would it be the only one you remember?

Everything about you is fading, being replaced by something else, hot and burning and so very not you; a sun, a sun that has learnt to hate and now consumes; everything about you is fading, but. But that single word; persistently there, persistently staying. Just one word. Staying.

Rose.

But no, that's not quite true either, is it? Because that's fading too, a little, and you want to say 'no!' but you can't, you know not how, but you need it; you know that you need that Rose to stay, and you don't know why you are capitalising the word in your mind, in your heart, in your soul, but you are; feels like you should, and wait, that means it definitely is more than a word, it's a name, it's a name...

Rose.

Who, who does that name belong to? The sanity, the reason, it's all but gone but you're still there thinking, hoping, wishing and wanting you can put a picture to it; you remember something about the word, because just as it sits there just out of reach like a forbidden fruit on a tree it reminds you of the thing it represents, the person, it's a girl, it's her.

Everything's fading but her, and you don't mind, not really, her is better than nothing, her is better than a lot of things, her is better than everything, and you wonder, you wonder, if you can live like this, a life just remembering her, because it's not all that bad, really; it's quite a nice word to be the only word you can remember – out of all the words you ever knew or will know, you're sure hers is the best, because she is the best, and better.

Rose...

Stubborn and staying and just out of reach. But she doesn't, doesn't have to be, not if you stand on tiptoes and hoist yourself up the tree and risk falling off the branch; falling, falling, now there's another fact; falling – why does that remind you of her, of Rose? There's something else leaving then; it's colour, colour's gone, and all that there is, is white, white walls. The colours have gone, well yes, but only mostly; the pinks and yellows, no, they've not disappeared, they've not faded away with the rest of time and space, and so now all that is left is Rose and white, a beauty and a blank canvass.

Rose?

There's something else, though, something else associated with falling and Rose, and this other something, it's got nothing to do with white walls, just your hearts, and they're beating, oh so quickly, now, just thinking of it, thinking of it scares you, scares you even more than the burning.

Scares you even more than forgetting would; but no, your left heart, then the right, it clenches at that and you know that's not true – you never want to forget, never, never, never want to forget the Rose, the Rose that is her; that is her who is pink and yellow and loved so very much. That's the falling that scared you before, the falling in love kind of falling, but now, oh now, you wish you'd dived right in, just jumped, jumped and she'd have jumped too, but now it's too late because she's fallen away.

Rose!

If only you'd fallen away with her. If only, if only, if only –

"Doctor?"

And what's that? That's a word, who said it, what does it mean?

"Doctor!"

More urgent now, and you wish you could respond, but your eyes are burning burning burning and you can't see her, is it her? Is it Rose?

"Doctor!"

No, but wait, no, that doesn't, it can't be, she's not here – she's gone, she's gone, she faded, she fell, didn't she? You remember more now, and it hurts, oh, it hurts, because you remember another word, and the other word is impossible. And that, it's painful, so painful, because it means you can't have her back, Rose is gone, fallen, and your forever with her is impossible.

"Doctor?"

You dare not let hope build up because somewhere else in your mind you are remembering the sound of her voice, Rose's voice and –

"Doctor!"

And that, that's not it. No. No, Rose's voice, that's different, and you wish it's hers, but it's not, it's –

You are shaken. The burning stops. So does your screaming.

You open your eyes.

Just as you suspected. Just as you'd never want.

It's not Rose.