Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Doctor Who. Only my love for the show.
Thank you for reading.
The Doctor stood on the porch for a very long time. He wanted to knock but every time he raised his hand all he could do was straighten his bow tie. After all he had to sacrifice just to get here – all the time it took to figure out how – and now he could hardly breathe. Just as he thought he should leave, the door opened.
It was Rose, every bit as beautiful as he remembered.
"Oh, hello. May I help you?"
Not even the slightest hint of recognition flickered in her eyes. He didn't know why he had hoped she would recognize him. True, she knew he could regenerate, but surely she wasn't expecting every person she met to be a future him.
"Er, yes. I am with…" The Doctor rummaged through his pockets and pulled out a small leather wallet, wishing he had come up with some clever story beforehand. "I'm with the… er… happiness… patrol."
Rose arched an eyebrow. "Happiness patrol? Really?"
"Yes, happiness patrol." He flipped open his wallet and held it out for her to see.
Rose's eyes widened as she stared at the wallet. "That's psychic paper."
"Oh, is it really?" He forgot she'd be able to spot that. "Must've left my badge in another suit." As he shoved the wallet back in his pocket, he pressed on. "Anyway, see, I er… we are taking a survey of how, well, happy people are."
Suspicion filled Rose's eyes as a familiar voice came through the door behind her.
"Rose? What is it?" A tall figure came into view.
It was like looking at an old picture of himself that someone had ever so slightly altered. The spiky hair, brown eyes, slender frame – all the same. Only he appeared a bit older than the Doctor remembered. He put his arm around Rose and looked questioningly at the Doctor.
Rose slipped her arm around the man next to her. "We're fine, really good."
"Excellent! Well, I'll be going then, shall I? Thank you for your time, er…" The Doctor stumbled backwards down the steps, almost falling in the process. "Good, see? Still fine!" He wrung his hands nervously as he rushed through the gate and down the street. As he was turning the corner, he heard laughter behind him and turned just in time to see the pair share a kiss in the open doorway. An excruciating jolt shot through both his hearts.
The Doctor ducked through a gap in the fence and ran smack into the TARDIS, knocking the wind out of him. He pulled himself up and fumbled to open the door. Without thinking, he dashed up to the console and entered coordinates. Any coordinates. He didn't care. Just to get away. After setting the TARDIS in motion, he collapsed and cried. He wasn't sure he had enough tears to wash away all the pain. Slapping himself on the forehead, he thought maybe this hadn't been the best idea. Especially alone. He knew how emotional he could get when he was alone.
Rose turned as she heard a familiar wind.
"Rose? Who was that, really?"
She smiled sadly. "It was an old friend."
Rose turned back to him, a tear rolling down her cheek. "You."
He looked surprised. "How do you know?"
"The psychic paper. It said, 'Rose Tyler, I love you.'"