There was something wrong. Not the usual wrong – no one being chased for their life, no one having failed to save the day, no one in a tiff because a new face had entered the picture.
No, something was fundamentally wrong; she could feel it to her core. She could tell from the very first instant she felt his fingertips against her door. She felt it in his step as he made his way oh so slowly to her controls. She could hear his sighs and, had she had eyes to meet his own, she would have seen a sadness there she hadn't seen since Gallifrey burned. Had she had skin she would have had goose-bumps.
She couldn't see into his mind – something that transfigured her "wrong" to "very wrong". He just stood there, not seeing her; he didn't even put his hands in his pockets. That made "very wrong" become something worse, something she didn't want to think about.
It wasn't until he broke down in tears, sitting on her cold grating, did she become afraid. He pulled his knees up to his chest, put his head in his hands and let his body rock to his own sobs. Had she had arms to hold him, she would never have let go.
She waited. She knew him – almost 900 years; she knew she would only have to wait for him to deal with it before he told her. Or she figured it out. She was a time machine, she could wait. HE was a time lord, he deserved her patience.
But after he had cried himself to the point that he had no more tears (she had no idea how long it was, and it didn't matter) he stood and she could feel the anger. Oh, she had felt his sorrow, but he had kept the rest guarded, that silly man. He didn't tell her, wouldn't let her offer whatever reassurance she could. Had she had the nerve, she would have scolded him for it. But he now stood before her controls with nothing but anger, and anger she recognized only too well. He was the Oncoming Storm.
It was when he finally began to punch in coordinates that she lost patience. Normally she would make allowances for his moving-on. He had lost enough people in his life that she knew it was the only way he could cope – move on to the next adventure, the next distraction.
But she didn't budge when he punched in the last direction. Wasn't he forgetting something? She stayed obstinately in place. He too waited. He still wouldn't look at her. He balled his hands into fists and waited. Had she had a mouth, she would have said that lovely late 20th century earth phrase contained in a single word: "hello?" meaning, "duh", but she didn't like that word anyway.
But still, he might have been a genius but he could be thick sometimes, wasn't he forgetting a certain blonde someone? She wasn't about to leave without Rose-
Had she had hands, she too would have made fists of them – whether to beat them on his chest or shake at the universe she couldn't be sure.
Of course, he wouldn't leave without Rose if he had any say in it, just as she wouldn't. She couldn't remember a companion she liked more than Rose – not Nyssa or Romana who had treated her with respect, if indifference, not Leelah who had been his opposite in so many ways, not even Susan who had been the first being to openly love her as more than a ship and a home.
It was Rose, it would always be Rose. Rose, who looked at her with wonder every moment, even though she thought she didn't notice. Rose, who told her little stories of her past life and of her new one, traipsing around with him when they were on foot. Rose, who loved him more than he had ever realized was possible and who he had loved with both hearts unshielded.
It was Rose who had saved them both after the War. It was Rose who had asked for so much without thought of herself and who had looked into her heart, as she had looked into hers. It was Rose they would both happily die for, who she would sacrifice herself for if it meant he could be with her.
And he had come back without her, wanted to leave without her. Had she had legs, they would have crumpled under her as well.
"She's not dead." She focused once again on the miserable man she loved so well. "she's not dead." She didn't know if he said it for her benefit or her own, and she didn't know if that made it better or worse – knowing she was alive but, for some reason, she couldn't come with them.
But then she could feel the shift in him, that miraculous change that overcame him, making him capable of escaping any attacker, of solving any problem. She felt hope and her circuit boards lit up with it. If there was a way to get Rose, he would find it. She was prepared to do anything he asked of her, if not for her sake, then for his.
She tried to help, tried to calculate the power needed, tried to locate the best star, tried to expedite the process in any way she could, but she knew it was no good. He wasn't getting Rose back, he was saying goodbye.
Had there been any way, she would have flung herself into that universe, even if it meant her own destruction. But she knew there wasn't. Had there been enough power to go around, she would have liked to have seen her – Rose Tyler, standing in her control room once again, even if she was just an image. But there was barely enough for a few minutes – more than one of which he wasted by solidifying his image, making him seem real, making the goodbye real.
She tried to give him time, she tried with every scrap of metal she had, but there's only so much energy an old type 40 TARDIS can donate before she and her captain are pulled into the dying star.
She wished he could have said it. Wished even more that he had told her, but if he had only said it, after the transmission cut, she would have been the slightest bit happier. She wanted so much for him and new he would probably never have any of it. Her loss was nothing compared to his. Yet, had she had lungs to shout with, she would have screamed at the universe.
But what she did have was a heart, and it was breaking right along with theirs.
She felt numb, well, as numb as a ship can feel. She would have stayed in orbit around the remnants of a forgotten star for all of eternity. But then she felt a pull, deep in her gut, if she had had a gut, and it made her feel slightly disoriented.
"What?" a red haired woman in a white dress had appeared from no where and, had she had brows and a forehead, they would have been knit in confusion right along with his.