Don't Forget Me

(I'll Remember)

Rose sits on the edge of the bed, shoulders hunched up against the cold and pain, her feet curled under the bed and into the sheets. She shudders, her brown eyes wide and agony-filled, but dry. Rose has long since run out of tears to cry.

She stares at the object of her attention, her focus undiverted by anything in the whole wide parallel universe. Not the screaming child in the bedroom down the hall, not the rushing footsteps all around, not the music from the party celebrating the renewal of famous Pete Tyler and his wife's wedding vows. Nothing.

Her hands shake, but she does her best to hold the picture in her hands steady as she gazes lovingly upon it, her lips turned up in the most bittersweet of smiles as she takes in the image of her past self - so damn happy, with that wide, cheeky smile and the laughter and oh god just thinking about it makes the hole in her heart begin to burn, makes what walls she's built up around her oh so fragile self begin to fall- and, more importantly, the image of him. His six-thousand mega-watt smile, with all those glittering white teeth. His hair, and the way he'd run his hands through it, almost a nervous habit, and how it'd stand up even more than it normally did afterwards. She longs to stroke his two-dimensional - dimensions, bloody hell, that word makes her ache - face, but Rose fears doing anything to jeopardize this last evidence of the best time of her life, and she worries that it'll disintigrate if she isn't oh so careful.

And no matter how much holding onto this shred of a past life hurts, Rose knows that the only thing more painful is no longer being able to hold on. No longer being able to remember his face as clearly as she wants to. No longer having proof that it wasn't just a dream, because now that she's back to a life of work, chips and sleep, Rose is never sure that it wasn't a dream, until she looks at this picture. And it's not like her mum is any help; Jackie is happy now, because she had nothing to lose. Howard? Powell Estates? Jackie is much better off now. Only Rose has anything left to cling to. Only Rose has anything to remember.

And remember she does. Rose forces herself to recall facts, names, dates, faces. She doesn't have to force herself to remember the feel of his hand in hers, or the sound of his laughter, or the way his eyes would gleam with mischieviousness as they found some new mystery, some new adventure. She just does, and all the time, too. Sometimes she wakes up with his voice ringing in her ears, and the feeling that he's just out of reach. It's times like these that she hopes that he's thinking of her, too.

Rose Tyler is realistic, though, and knows that in all likelyhood, he's found a new companion. She knows she's not the first, and she's sure that she won't be the last. That's alright, though, because though it makes her throat sting, her heart ache, and her eyes water, Rose would rather be replaced than have the Doctor be lonely again. She doesn't want him to suffer, not now, not ever. So she just smiles and tries to imagine who the lucky girl - or boy - is. She wonders if he's ever had a companion that isn't British - American? Irish? Scottish? French? Rose can see him with a French companion, because then he could actually use 'allonsy' and Rose smiles at the thought of his joy then - and she thinks it unlikely 'cause they landed outside of the UK exactly once, which is actually kind of strange. Rose does feel jealous sometimes, that's true, but she'll be fine as long as she thinks the Doctor is, too. Doesn't mean that she wants him to consider her a part of the past, though. She'll get back to him one day, right? She's the Bad Wolf. She's Rose Tyler, Defender of Earth - she'll find a way, right?

Because for her, it's not over yet. Some days, Rose wakes up and thinks that she's still home, still on the TARDIS, still in the right universe. Honestly, Rose wouldn't even mind being in this new universe one bit as long as the Doctor was here with her. Which he isn't.

Rose's eyes bore into his photographed brown ones as she thinks, pleading with him to answer her calls, both mental and with that cell phone he gave her on their first trip, the one to the end of Earth. He never does. But still, Rose hopes.

She also thinks a lot these days. Not that there's much else to do, once she gets home from Torchwood. From defending Earth and all that. Obviously, she thinks most about the Doctor, and their adventures. She also wonders if somewhere out there, an alternate Jack Harkness exists. She thinks it'd be difficult to duplicate that, though. Rose smirks at the thought.

Rose also wonders if there's an alternate Doctor. She doesn't think that very possible, either. She almost wishes it were, just so she could be with him. Find someone like him, be with someone like him. At the same time, though, she feels like that'd be a lie, like there's not really anyone else that could ever hope to take his place. But still, what feels like lifetimes ago and also like just yesterday was the best time of her life, and some times Rose thinks that she'd do anything to go back. Even lie to herself. Those are the days when she calls in sick from work and just lies in bed for hours, eyes closed, pretending.

But, god, nothing can compare to the real thing. Nothing at all. She misses the worries and the cares, the mistakes, the laughter, the smiles. Rose doesn't regret a thing - except, of course, her fingers slipping from the lever.

But that's already been done and, despite everything the Doctor taught her about never giving in, Rose can't seem to find a way to undo what's been done. Even though that's what they did everyday. Rose laughs. She didn't realize how bittersweet this would taste when she first ran into the TARDIS.

Her wry chuckling fades and dies away. Rose Tyler, companion to the Doctor - forever - stands from her bed and gently sets a photograph, from so far away and so long ago, down on her nightstand. She smiles once more upon it, like a mother would smile down on her newborn child, then turns and walks away. She looks back at it one more time from the doorway, unable to see details, but recalling each line of his face with precision.

Now Rose's brown eyes finally begin to shimmer with tears. "Don't forget me, Doctor," she begs quietly of empty air.

And when she smiles because of what she thinks she might have heard, her tears spill over and trace sparkling paths down her face.

"I'll remember."

Post Doomsday. Influenced by "Someone Like You" by Adele.