"Rose?" His voice is soft, inquisitive, as he intently peers through the gathering gloom of the ship at me, the soft blue and golden lighting of the ship's console tinting his face strange shades, making him look to be the stranger I once thought he was.
"Doctor," I whisper back, slipping onto the seat beside him. He moves over to make more room for me, and I burrow into his side. He automatically wraps an arm around me, but he seems shocked. I smile as I breathe in, smelling his distinct smell - Time and galaxies and endless possibilities.
"This is nice," His tone is tentative, but pleased as he speaks before pressing his lips against the top of my head. "But," he continues, and my smile fades. "It's late, and you need sleep."
"I'm not tired, Doctor! Really, I -" Of course, right then, my traitor body goes against my will and a yawn escapes me. He chuckles, then grips me even tighter swinging me gently so as to hold me, bridal-style, with his hands behind my knees and back as he stands and walks slowly and carefully to my room. He pushes the door open with his foot and is ever so gentle as he turns and deposits me on my bed, being sure to tuck my blankets carefully around my still form and to push the tendrils of blond hair that were strewn across my face back. His hands, so cool, are light on my face, like the whisper of a breeze or the brush of a butterfly's wings. And his lips on mine are lighter still, so light I don't believe it's truly happened until I open my brown eyes and see his just above mine. A brilliant, albeit sleepy, smile lights up my tired face as I drift into dreams, which shall surely be beautiful ones of my Doctor.
As I drift away, I think I hear the words I wish to in his double heartbeat.
I take a deep breath, a wide grin firmly in place on my lips as my feet pound against the wet pavement, our hands entwined as we race away. When we reach the TARDIS, flying inside and slamming the door shut as we go, we'll finally slow down and I'll put my hands against your chest, feeling your hearts beat a frantic tune and I'll smile and smile and you'll smile back.
The cold metal bars of my bedframe press against my back as I listen to my own ragged breathing, choking back sobs and blinking rapidly to hold back the flood of tears that threatens to escape. Tendrils of blond hair cling to my face and form a cage around the photos that I clutch tightly, afraid to let go of.
And more than a universe away, my Doctor sits on the floor, his lean frame against the railings near the console, my pressing my purple jumper to his face and trying to breath in the fading remnants of my scent, but if Martha were to ask if he were okay, of course he'd say, "I'm alright. I'm always alright."
The Doctor doesn't sleep often, but when he does fall asleep, it's not in a normal place, such as on a couch or in a bed, it's wherever he stood before he felt tired; on the kitchen table, on the floor of the library between the stacks of books, or curled up on the rug at the foot of my bed. And when he's deep asleep, he speaks to himself.
Often, the Doctor whispers of things I don't understand - complex mathematical theories, or of faraway lands and exotic peoples - but occasionally, he'll murmur a word that I can't help but think was made for those lips. "Rose,"
The black silk on his lean frame is like the night-sky he travels, poured across cool skin. The corners of my lips quirk upwards in as sincere a smile I can manage as I take in his expression: annoyance. He fiddles with the bowtie, then fumbles with his glasses, before running a hand through his already ruffled - always ruffled, in fact - and oh-so-gloriously dishevled hair. "You ready?" I ask, my tone light, but my eyes sorrowful as I recall the last time I saw my Doctor in such an outfit. It was this universe, yes, but then he was still my Doctor; the real Doctor; and he still had both of his wonderful, brilliant hearts and the sonic screwdriver and his TARDIS. And oh how I miss him! But still, I take this Doctor's arm as he offers it and I smile and I act like my heart isn't breaking when, later that night, I can feel only one heart beating beneath my hand as his caress my face.
In my sleep, I still dream of him. My Doctor, I mean. I dream of the way he'd tell you he was alright when his eyes said otherwise; how he'd smile with his eyes brimming with tears; how his manic energy was the worst when he was frightened or scared. I dream of how it used to be and how it still should be, of traveling the stars, of eating chips or bananas and apples, and of stardust and smiles. I dream of laughing with him, and of our hands entwined.
When I wake up, I say hello to the Doctor, and I eat cereal and we pay our morgage and I admire the way the light plays off the pretty ring on my finger, and I pretend not to long for the stars or my lonely angel.
I fear he'll leave me again like he did today, and I can't stand the thought. Braving the dark of the night-cycle TARDIS, I climb out from underneath my warm covers and sheets, and stumble out into the cold hallway. After managing to stub my toe several times, I finally find myself in out by the console, and lo and behold, the Doctor isn't there. I frown, realizing that I don't actually have a clue where he might be. With that firmly in mind, I continue my search, making my way to the library, where I have often seen him hunched over Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with tears streaming down his face, and to the pool, where he does laps late at night when I am asleep and he isn't, but he is nowhere to be found. I venture to the kitchen, where he might be drinking hot chocolate or tea, or eating a banana, but he's not there, either. Finally, just walking and letting the TARDIS guide me, I find a simple, dark-stained wooden door looming out of the darkness before me. I slowly push it open, creeping inside, and am shocked to find that the Doctor actually fell asleep on a bed. I smile briefly, before moving closer.
At the edge of his bed, I study his expression in the small amount of starlight that's seeping through his window. His brow is creased; his lips turned down. A whimper escapes him as he shudders, reaching out for something. A pang of distress races through me, and my heartstrings are tugged most forcefully. I carefully pull the sheets back and slide under them, shivering slightly as my body adjusts from the chilly air outside. Somehow, even though to my knowledge I haven't made a sound or disturbed the bed too much, the Doctor becomes aware of my presence. "Rose," he whispers, as his brown eyes open slightly. I smile at him as he sleepily wraps an arm across my body, tugging me against him.
We fit together perfectly, out bodies pressed together, our feet entwined. I sigh and settle in, knowing that I'll need a good night's sleep for the morning's conversations, which are sure to be awkward.
I feel him forget me. But I remember, I remember something new and I smile as I cry.
He's shaking in the shadows, and I think he's drunk. The snow falls around us, and my footsteps make muffled crunching noises as I slowly approach, peering into darkness to attempt to discern his features. I catch a glimpse of wide, dark and agony-filled eyes and dishelved brown hair before he reels back, his movements jerky and awkward. I do not see his wistful smile, nor his tears.
New Year's Eve, 2005. It's a new memory, something he's just changed. Or something I've just recalled, I don't know which.
It's not my Doctor's arms that hold me here as I choke back sobs and laughter, agony and love all twisted together, but I'm going to be alright. My Doctor is dead now. He didn't want to go, but he said goodbye. I know I smiled at him, and that he smiled, too.
I feel two heartbeats - my own, and my Doctor's one.
Post Journey's End. Influenced by "Last Kiss" by Taylor Swift.