Do it for love
Do it for us
Do it for goodness sake
Do it for all the times
We wished we had
~"Tidal," Imogen Heap


"So whatcha gonna do now?" Mickey asks, days later, after all the tears have been wiped away and she no longer looks like she might break into pieces if pushed too hard. They are sitting on her front steps, watching the cars as they speed along. It's been fifteen days, nine hours, six minutes, and thirty-two seconds since the Doctor disappeared for the last time. Four days, six hours, and fifty-two seconds since the tears ran out.

"Rose?" Mickey prods when his question prompts no answer. She frowns, but doesn't look at him. It's a fair question, she supposes, but that's just the problem—it's one she cannot answer.

After all, what is she supposed to do? Get up, go to work, and act as if nothing ever happened? Act as if every adventure, every laugh, every near-death experience meant nothing? That would be a disservice not only to herself and to her lonely Doctor, but also to whatever force in the Universe gave her that precious gift.

The more she thinks about it, the more she doesn't know what to do. What she should do. Take that job at Torchwood? Travel the world? Climb back into bed and never leave? All she is completely certain of is the mismatched thrum of her being: as if she doesn't belong here, tethered to the ground permanently.

Maybe there is no place in the universe, she thinks, for a girl whose footing will never again quite be steady, in the proper sense of the word.

So, sitting on her porch watching the cars pass by down the road, she mutters, "I dunno" and hopes that's enough for him.

She maintains this mindset for days, wandering through the motions of her life with no direction and no purpose. She gets up, gets dressed, and spends her days wandering the town, memorizing the city that is simultaneously so different and yet exactly the same. She does not think about the Doctor; she does not really think about anything.

Until, one day, everything changes.

She is crossing the street toward her favorite little café—one of the few blessings about Pete's World, really; it's one she doesn't remember having in her home Universe—the streets crowded with people, all blustering past her on their way back to work from their lunch breaks. A burly woman with a low, dark bun and a green coat tumbles into her.

"Oy!" Rose snaps, watching the woman's retreating, unapologetic figure. "Watch where you're goin', yeah!"

As she turns back toward her destination, the crowd clears for just a moment and the sight she is met with shakes her to the bone.

A young blonde woman sits outside the café, laughing at the man across from her. Between them, there is a bowl of chips.

That seemingly insignificant moment is all it takes. Suddenly, every moment with the Doctor she has struggled, this past week, to repress, comes back to her in sensory overload. She hears every laugh, feels every touch, sees every smile and frown and worried glance. Tastes every chip shared. Inside her, something breaks; a howling echoes, not in her ears, but in her very soul. And it occurs to her, in that one, singular moment, that she knows exactly what to do with her life:

Live it.

And she will. Oh, how she will. She will live a life so full of adventure and passion that it will go down in history books. She will not stay cooped up in her house or in her mind for a moment longer; she will get up and go to work and figure out every crevice of this new world she's been offered. No one will take this second chance from her, least of all herself. The Doctor would be ashamed of her, so broken, and she vows then and there to keep on running for him.

She swears, when her time is through, she will go down burning.

And it will be…fantastic.

When she gets home, she takes that job at Torchwood.

A/N: Sorry it's taken me so long to get this up here. I've been super, super busy. Also, do not despair: healing Rose will take a while, but she's about to get super kick-butt. God, I love that girl.