Words Never Said

Tears stream down his face, soak hers. He wipes them away.

"Rose Tyler - "

The words that should have followed, that now he'll never say - they haunt him. He'll hear them in his sleep. The Doctor will live to regret them for a long, long time. He'll regret the words never said.

He regrets never telling her how much he loves everything about her, how even when she was just in the other room, he longed to see her so much, and how he misses her a thousand times more than he's ever missed anyone. How he loved how she would sneak into his room, late at night, when she'd had a nightmare, or when she just wanted to see him, and how he felt surprise every single time - she misses me, too?

The Doctor regrets not telling her that he loves her smile, her eyes, her hand in his. He regrets not telling her that he adores her tousled, peroxide blonde hair, and her expressions when she's just woken up.

He regrets holding in his feelings for fear of getting hurt. He realizes now that it couldn't have ever felt worse than it does now.

But despite the pain, he doesn't believe it. Not really. It can't be true - surely his Rose is just in the other room, reading a book? He remembers the weathered orange color of the book he got for her before it was published, or even written. Maybe she's swimming in the pool? He remembers her pink bathing suit. After everything they've been through together, surely there's no way that a white-washed wall can be the thing separating them ... But it is.

He misses the way she loved having 'underwater tea parties', as she termed. How she would wave to him from beneath the water, smiling and blowing bubbles at him. He always loved that. And he adored the way she sobbed over that orange-covered book, and especially how she came running for him at the end, red and watery eyes belying her beaming smile as she exclaimed over it, talking a mile a minute.

The Doctor still sees his Rose every time he closes his eyes. Sometimes, she used to blind him to everything else, because all he wanted to look at was her. And she still blinds him, but now she's just a ghost. And it's not just that he can't see anymore - he can't feel, either. Not the turn of the Earth, not the stars, not the threads of time. Just her. Her hand in his, her lips on his with rush of the Vortex caressing his skin. Bad Wolf. The Doctor can't feel where he belongs, because he was really starting to think that it was with her.

He regrets not telling her that.

The Doctor has a thousand regrets - His people, dead and gone. Adelaide Brooke's whole wasted life. The Master's insanity. Jenny's sacrifice ("She's too much like me,"). Martha's broken heart, Donna's broken mind. But he regrets nothing so much as the words he's never said.

I love you.

Doomsday, post-Doomsday. Inspired by "I Never Told You" by Colbie Caillat.