A/N: Here's the prologue~ I needed a way to get Rose to start travelling alone, and here it is! Rose/Ten2, character!death ahead. Also, a GINORMOUS Thank You to my beta, driptweet, without whom this would be a lot more crappy
Tears streamed down her face, as Rose Tyler held her husband's hand. She looked like she had been to hell and back, with her mascara smudged, her hair a mess and dark circles under her eyes. If she had noticed, she didn't care. The love of her life was lying in the bed beside her, and he only had hours left, at best. She wouldn't waste those hours on something as mediocre as personal grooming. He was worth so much more than that, and knowing she wasn't there for him during his last hours, even for a minute... it was something she didn't even dare to think about. She had made her choice a long time ago, and it would always be him.
Although she knew her mother had hoped she'd finally stay at home and out of trouble, neither her nor the Doctor were the domestic type. Even with the option of settling down and living together for good, the need for adventure was just too great. They had a piece of TARDIS coral thanks to the other Doctor, and using a few of Donna's tricks, they had managed to grow their own time machine in less than a year. It allowed them to travel together again and during that short tome, Rose was certain things would stay as they used to be – maybe they would even be better.
But the Doctor had grown ill, and steadily, his life faded away from him. It started slowly – he would get stuck sometimes during his ramblings, as if he were a machine that was overheating. Neither Rose nor the Doctor thought anything of it at first – they put it down to fatigue. But his ill health picked up it's speed, and soon he began to suffer from headaches that became more and more serious over time. Of course, he had tried to hide his problems from Rose – he didn't want to worry her. But before long the pain started to take it's toll, and not even the painkillers were able to hide it anymore. His stamina dropped severely, and he was having more and more trouble keeping up with Rose during their endless amounts of running, which forced them to stop travelling.
After that, it didn't take too long for them to realize what was had never been a timelord-human metacrisis before, and when Rose had asked about it, she realized it was because there simply couldn't be one. There was a reason timelords needed 2 hearts, not just for regeneration purposes. Human bodies weren't made to contain timelord souls, and they never would be.
In the end, all she could do was watch the most important man in her life slip away, and she could do nothing about it.
She had never felt more powerless.
"I didn't mean for it to end like this, you know?" He said, sounding weak and broken. It was so unlike the man she had know.
She wanted to smile at him. She wanted to reassure him. She wanted to make him believe she was going to be okay. She couldn't. She loved him, and the thought of him leaving her again was unbearable to her. She wanted to cry out and beg for someone, something, to save him. To save her.
It wasn't fair, she thought. She had come all this way, she had sacrificed so much to be with him, to stay with him. She had left her family without even as much as a goodbye to travel with him. She was sure they would be together forever. Why couldn't they be together forever? Why was it that someone, or something, always had to rip them apart?
"You could've told me a timelord-human metacrisis couldn't survive that long." She joked, making a weak attempt to lighten the mood.
She regretted it almost instantly. He looked away in pain, and Rose mentally scowled herself for not thinking before she spoke.
"I didn't know..." He whispered, his already weak voice barely audible, which only hurt her more. A few tears fell on his hospital gown as she leant over to kiss him.
"I know, I'm sorry." They fell into a comfortable silence for a while, never letting go of each other's hand. Soon, though, the inevitable but heartbreaking words broke the silence.
"Not long now."
Rose shook her head, unable to speak. She was certain she would just cry. Her lips were trembling, and silent tears rolled down her cheeks. The Doctor squeezed her hand softly, as to reassure her he was still there, even though they both knew he wouldn't be for long.
As they were lying next to each other, his arms embracing her and her head lying on his chest, Rose started crying. "I don't want you to go."
After a while, Rose lay with him on the bed, and they remained peacefully next to each other, his arms around her, her head on his chest.
"I don't want you to go." Rose admitted as she cried.
The Doctor kissed her head and hugged her tighter. He wished things were different. It had killed him as he watched her slip away that day, after the battle of Canary Wharf, and it had hurt even more to leave their goodbye unfinished. He had known they would probably never be able to spend their lives together, but she had been ripped out of his life way too soon for his liking. He'd been distraught.
When she came back though, blazing in courage and passion, he had dared to hope. If 2 whole universes were unable to separate them forever, he couldn't think of anything that might have a fighting chance.
Oh, he had been certain they would be happy together.
But it seemed like their happiness never got to last too long. Yes, they had gotten married. Yes, they got to travel together again.
He had never imagined it'd end like this, where they were both so helpless. He had always thought he'd die in battle – or maybe of old age, now that he was human. This just seemed wrong to him. He couldn't leave her, not like this.
"And I don't want to leave you... But it's not up to us."
He spoke slowly, conserved his energy. He wanted his remaining time to last as long as possible.
He stroked Rose's beautiful blond hair. She buried her face in his chest, her cries reduced to sobs. He knew how much this must hurt her, how terrible she must be feeling. He knew that when he died, a part of Rose would die with him. He knew, because he had been through the same thing when he first lost her.
His heart had ripped apart when he lost her, but at least it had been quick for him. In a way, that had been an advantage. Rose had watched him slip away for nearly a year now, and it hurt her more every day. He could see her suffering, and it pained him. He didn't want Rose, his Rose, to suffer through all that.
"Rose... Rose, look at me."
Carefully, Rose lifted her head from his chest to look at him, her vision slightly blurred by the tears in her eyes.
"I need you to do something for me... I need you to promise me something." He said, as she nodded.
"Do you remember what I said to you all those years ago? When I sent you home, away from the Daleks, because I was certain I wouldn't survive?"
Rose nodded; how could she forget? She had hated him for leaving her like that, for having to pretend she'd be okay, even though they both knew otherwise. She remembered how the TARDIS emergency protocol had kicked in, showing a hologram of her Doctor, telling her to carry on, and have a fantastic life, and let this old box gather dust.
"When I'm gone," he said, his voice wavering, "I want you to do exactly that. But don't let the TARDIS go. I want you to carry on our work. There are people out there that need your help."
He smiled weakly.
"I've known you long enough to know that ordering you to stay safe won't give you the fantastic life I want you to have, so I want you to keep her."
She smiled, even through her tears. He knew her too well.
"You know how to fly the TARDIS, so it's yours now. I want you to carry on travelling, helping people like we did before."
"But it won't be the same without you." She said, still sobbing. He cupped her face with his hand and placed a feather light kiss on her lips, before resting his forehead against hers.
"I know... but I need you to try. You made me better, Rose Tyler, and the world needs someone like you. Promise me, Rose. Promise me you'll do just that."
Rose swallowed and looked into her husband's eyes for one of the last times. After all these years, after all they had been through, his biggest concern was still her well-being. She knew he would do anything to make her smile, and even though he couldn't prevent his death, he was leaving her with his greatest legacy.
Rose knew he'd die for her if he had the chance, he had always been very protective when it came to her. How could she ignore his final wish? "I promise."
She kissed him again, slowly and sweetly. It was unlike the passionate kisses they had previously shared - this kiss was filled with hurt and love, and most importantly, goodbye.
Neither of them wanted this moment to end, and as they were laying there, caught in each other's embrace. Rose thought for a moment that maybe she'd be OK. She was soon reminded, though, that nothing lasts forever, and he flinched in pain as they parted.
"Doctor? Doctor, what's wrong?" she asked, her voice filled with panic, even though she didn't really need an answer to that question. His final days were nearly over.
The Doctor didn't reply, he just had his hands covering his ears, whimpering in pain. Tears were now falling from his eyes, and Rose took both of his hands, trying to reassure him as he had tried to reassure her.
"Don't leave me, please don't leave me." She begged, although part of her knew it'd be in vain.
She cried, screaming for help as the Doctor seemed to be in more pain than ever. Oh, how much she'd give to take his pain away. Here she was - Rose Tyler, defender of the earth. Who had slain daleks and saved entire civilizations, yet couldn't do anything to prevent the loss of the only man she had ever truly loved.
A team of doctors stormed into the room, telling Rose to step aside as they tried to make sure her husband was in as less pain as possible. She wanted to refuse, as she wanted to stay with the Doctor as long as possible. But she knew she had to obey them – if anyone could save him, or at least give her more time with him, it were them.
She never let go of his hand, though. She couldn't bear to let go of him, not now. Not when he may only have seconds left to live.
Rose tried to make out what the Doctor was saying, as his whimpering grew louder. The medication seemed to have little effect. "I don't want to go, please don't make me leave. I don't want to go."
The words broke her heart, and she cried.
After a few more cries from her Doctor, he fell silent. His head fell back into his pillow, and he opened his eyes to look at her. She inched closer, and he lifted his hand to gently caress her face. "Rose... I l-"
His hand fell back onto the bed, and the hand Rose was still holding slowly grew colder and colder. She knew it was over. He was gone. He wouldn't come back. He wouldn't regenerate. And Rose Tyler had never felt this alone before.
A/N-2: And? What did you think? Please review, they make me smile like Matt Smith with a badger :)