bored and lonely

-x-

I never realised just how much

I'd come to forget normal life.

I sort of thought I'd be able

To slip back in, if the need arose.

But then again, I mostly thought

That need would never come.

-x-

She wasn't much enjoying being alone.

It was...well, lonely. Obviously. Empty flat and empty hand and all that.

But more than that, it was so, so, extremely, incredibly boring.

Half the people she spoke to thought she was mad, the other half thought she was simply a bit dim. It drove her crazy, the fact that no one here got her.

Maybe it was because there wasn't supposed to be a Rose Tyler in this World, Pete's World. So they struggled to see her, struggled to know her. It was like she was invisible. Like she constantly had some sort of perception filter 'round her. Some days she liked that. Some days it was too damn frustrating to even like it just a little.

Maybe it was because she'd spent so much time with him that she'd become far too used to having someone there for her who knew just what she was going to say before she even said it; who ran with her, hand-in-hand down a big, grassy hill like children, just for the sake of it; who laughed at her silly jokes even in the most inappropriate situations - jokes which were actually often quite witty, if only they could be understood by these humans who were supposed to be her species but who felt like strangers.

Sometimes, if no one else was around to confirm their suspicions that she was, indeed, insane, she would talk to him. Have a proper conversation and everything – imagining what he'd say back to her, formulating a line of argument, teasing him right back.

She could go a whole evening like that; sitting in front of the T.V, bag of chips situated haphazardly in her lap, chatting aimlessly at him about this, that or the other. More often than not, she'd moan about Irene The Bitch At Work. He'd tell her to do all sorts of innovative pranks on her to get her back for all the snide comments and rumour-spreading she liked to participate in at Rose's expense.

Rose would laugh and tell him not to be so mean, even as she secretly planned her revenge in accordance with his suggestions; he'd made her wickedly creative, he had.

She would even imagine him pulling her into a hug 'til they'd fall asleep together on the sofa...

...yeah. Perhaps she was a little mad. But seriously, who could blame her? She only had four rooms – kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom; in order of importance – and the incongruous absurdity of having a flat that was exactly the same size on the inside as it ought to be from the look of the outside was pushing her slowly over the edge.

The edge being, why couldn't she just pack a bag and leave? Leave her job, go off on her own adventure, jump on a plane, travel the world and live on chips and hugs, like they used to?

Two problems with that plan, she soon reluctantly acknowledged.

Numero Uno, she couldn't just leave her job. She worked at Torchwood, for goodness' sake. She was, as the Doctor had professed: Rose Tyler, Defender of the Earth. She had a duty here, a purpose – save the World, be the Doctor where he couldn't be, fight the darkness.

B, she didn't really fancy hugging anyone nowadays. She didn't mean to be unsociable. Everyone was just so boring and safe and lifeless and static. She wanted to hug someone that'd swing her around and laugh into her neck, breathe in the scent of her hair, murmur words she wanted to hear from lips she wanted to kiss from a man who she wanted to –

Oh dear, she was letting her imagination run away with her again. But still. He used to fulfil most of that hugging criteria, and she was damn near certain that he'd almost have done the last things too, if she

hadn't let go of that bloody lever

hadn't had her days with him cut short.

They had been so close, so close to crossing that line. She was sure of it. If only she had told him sooner, instead of playing those silly, teasing games. They'd wasted so much time.

Not that she'd needed all that, of course. When she'd been with him, everything they had together felt like enough. She may have dreamt about them, let's say, dancing, but it wasn't like she really missed that side of a relationship. She wanted to spend the rest of her life with him, and believed she could. She hadn't felt the need to rush things, or even have 'things' at all. She was perfectly content.

And then she got trapped here. And being so alone got her thinking: she wished they had got that far, because then she'd at least have those memories, now.

She missed him so much.

Yeah, she knew that somewhere, he was missing her too. But at least he still had the universe. At least he still had the TARDIS. At least he still had centuries of time to mend his hearts and move on and exist without her.

She didn't really think she had much of anything.

-x-

And in this World where you are not,

Time runs far too slow.

And people move along...

But never run.

...

It's really, really quite tragic,

How I never needed someone 'til I met you.

Because now you're gone, and I'm not so sure

How I can ever live a life without you in it.

-x-

He didn't much like not having her hand to hold.

He now had fingers that flexed uselessly at his side; a hand that reached out into empty air to grasp another's; an arm that didn't quite feel right, hanging despondently without her latching onto it, staring up at him with those big, brown eyes that he swore he could've fallen into, they were so deep; and those countless eyelashes fluttering at him, tipping him over the edge as he agreed with whatever she asked for.

He didn't have Rose to wrap his arms around whenever he felt like it. Didn't have her to watch suns set with, or watch the stars blink into existence with. Didn't have her to run down a big, grassy hill like children with. Didn't have her silly, inappropriate, but really very witty, jokes to laugh at during the most inconvenient of times.

He didn't have her to tell him off anymore, when he'd get them trapped in a prison cell for being rude to the locals. He didn't have her to make bets with, or play scrabble with, or climb up the Faraway Tree with (yes, it's real) to look out onto flowering meadows with. He didn't have her to walk beneath frozen waves with on Women Wept, or build sandcastles with on the beaches of Aria, or play who can swing the highest with in that little park near the Powell Estate.

Things like his palm and his chest and his hearts felt too cold without her here.

He didn't like it.

He'd got used to her human warmth, and he missed it. Missed it, missed her, more than he knew how to deal with. He had no recollection of how he'd managed to carry on after the Time War, apart from the fact that it was all down to her.

So what – what the actual hell – was he going to do now? How could he possibly, ever, get over this? Losing her; blimey. It was devastating.

He'd talk to her sometimes. As he pottered about the TARDIS feeling sorry for himself. He knew it was crazy. He knew it was making it even harder for him to let go. He was clinging onto the past with all his hearts but, well. It was such a good past, so how could he not? He'd start up some random conversation with an imaginary Rose and pretend she was right there next to him, replying and laughing and doing all those other deliciously Rose things she did. Like existing in the universe he was in, for instance. And biting her lip, that cheeky sparkle in her eyes telling him she was teasing him. And oh, then she would be poking her tongue out of the corner of her mouth as she smiled. Rassilon, he missed that smile.

He knew, realistically, that he'd actually get up one day, walk out of those doors, and face the universe again. Alone. He'd have to, because the universe depended on him. He needed to watch over it. Jump in when people needed him, and when they didn't. Cause havoc, cause peace – whichever was required to try and help, try and save the day.

He knew, realistically, that he'd have to summon the strength to do all of that again, at some point.

But it didn't mean he had to like it.

He wasn't sure he'd ever take the same joy in every planet, see such wonder in every person, and have such a vivacity of living, as when he was with her.

There wouldn't be a day that went by without every one of his thoughts coalescing with an adjacent thought about her. How could he ever, ever, not want her to be there next to him as he saved world after world, solved mystery after mystery, ran mile after mile?

How could he ever not want her right here, on the TARDIS, watching him fix his ship, making him endless mugs of tea, sitting with him in the library, or cuddling into his side as they watched a movie in her room?

How could he ever not want all the time they'd shared together back, so he could relive each lovely, wonderful moment over and over and over and over and over again?

How could he ever not want her, full stop?

Why they'd wasted time and not gone for it, he'd never be able to logically work out.

('It' being...weeeellll. You know. That stuff. All that human stuff. A relationship. A proper relationship. As in, like, weeelll. You know.)

He supposed they'd been acting young and naive, thinking they had plenty of time left for things to happen.

('Things' being those meaningful admissions and the subsequent passionate embraces that would inevitably occur. Ahem.)

He rather suspected that, had she not been cruelly torn away from him, he'd have given up their game of who'll say it first, and just bloody well kissed her right there in that dreadful white, sterile room at the pinnacle of Torchwood Tower. Then they just would've fallen into a relationship; an even lovelier, even couple-ier, kind of life.

She'd been prepared to give up everything for him. Again. And how could he have carried on maintaining that careful balance, that infuriating limbo, between friends and lovers, after that? She'd made her choice. She never wanted to leave him. He never wanted her to leave, despite his concerns over her never seeing her mother again –

(he knew what it was like to never see one's own mother again. He'd wanted to save her that pain, not knowing that at that moment, her pain would've been greater to lose him.)

- and so it was clear. So abundantly, stupidly clear, for once, just where each of them stood. They wanted to be together forever, and if the universe hadn't decided to take her away

if he'd been the one on that side of the room, with that magna clamp, with that lever...his reach was longer than hers and he could've grabbed it, grabbed it and pulled it back upright and then she wouldn't have been in that position, straining to reach it, falling and struggling to hold on; and her grip wouldn't have faltered, and she wouldn't have let go of that bloody lever, and she wouldn't have needed Pete to come back and save her at that last moment, and she wouldn't be trapped in another universe, and she wouldn't have left him, and neither of them would be alone and miserable and heartbroken

then they might've had more time to actually become properly together in the first place.

At least she had her family, he supposed. At least she had her Mum, and her Dad that she'd never got to know properly before, but now could. At least she had Mickey, who'd look after her and love her and care for her the rest of their lives.

He didn't. He didn't have his Rose and her – his - little makeshift family that made him feel so very loved and like he belonged for the first time since he could remember.

You see, the Doctor might've still had the universe at his disposal, but he wasn't much a fan of his beloved space and time anymore; not without her to share it with.

She meant everything. Everything.

He could only hope that one day, the universe would decide to be kind to him for once, and let her return.

-x-

And in this home that you made your own,

I sit and wait for a miracle.

'Cos maybe I don't believe in fate,

But somehow, you –

Weeelll.

You defy all logic.

You can defy anything.

And maybe, just maybe,

You'll get back to me.

Please. Just...

Get back to me.

-x-