Time

Time, for most people, was a simple matter of seconds multiplying into minutes, which in turn became hours, days, weeks, months and years. And when these simple terms of time were added together, they became a life.

For the Doctor, things were never quite so easy. Whereas most would find time like sand, each grain a second to slip through their fingers and never be recovered, he could keep it, gather it in his hands. He could go anywhere ... anytime.

But still, there was never quite enough of it. For example, the last days as two worlds nearly melded, almost became one broken one.

You see, what with his amazing skills and talents, the Doctor had responsibilities, and he would never abandon them. He would always do his duty to protect life, as best he could. And, for most of his very long existance, he went about this alone. It's true that he would, occasionally, have a companion, but they came and went as time - no matter how strangely, in stops and jolts - went on.

None stayed as long, or meant as much, as one Rose Tyler.

She was with him for a long time, and whenever they stood together just so, side to side, so that their shoulders - his broad, hers slim - brushed, he would wonder. And whilst standing on a moon far away from either of their homes, the Doctor finally voiced his wonderings aloud. "How long will you stay?" he asked, turning to meet her brown eyes with his own, darker hued, ones.

"Forever," she promised him, a smile of white teeth and pink lips gracing her face, the face that filled his every dream, waking or sleeping. He noticed, and noticed how much he loved, the way the her eyes crinkled at the corners when she smiled like that. The tone was teasing, but her eyes told him that she meant to keep that promise.

She meant to. But of course, things never go quite as planned.

On their next visit to Earth, things were even stranger than they had become accustomed to. It was the end of the world, though they didn't yet know it. 'Ghosts' filled the air, and when the pair set out to discover just what these spirits were and where they came from, they found yet more mysteries in the secret society of Torchwood.

It was discovered that one could travel back and forth between the worlds, though if one had, and the breach between said worlds was open, then that person or thing would be sucked into the void. The breach would, after a while, close and seal everything that had gone through away for all time.

The Doctor knew that he and Rose would be safe if they traveled to the alternate world, different dimension, but he also knew that it was up to him to protect the people left behind. So he sent Rose away to the other world and prepared to do what he knew must be done. He, of course, was not expecting her to return almost immediately.

She did, though, and no matter how much he just wanted to wrap his arms around her and hold her close, there was no time. So instead, they worked in near silence and just did what they had to do.

But she slipped. Rose was going to be pulled into the void, because things, of course, went rather wrong. She made sure that everything could be fixed, but in doing so, she was pulled towards the void. Just before she was pulled through, a man from the other world took her to safety in the alternate dimension. Then the breach sealed, and the two worlds were separated forever.

Well, not quite. One small gap was left, but it took vast amounts of energy - the energy given off by a supernova, in fact - and more time than even the Doctor could procure, just to contact the other side, much less get there.

He used the power, tried to make more time.

They spoke, she cried, and he wished that there was somehow a way to make it last a thousand times longer than he knew it would.

She choked out a goodbye, black streaks of mascara marring the clear skin of her face. He longed to reach out and brush the tears away, but he was insubstantial and unable to do so. She longed to take his hand, the way she had promised, in happier times, to always do.

"I ..." Her throat felt like she had swallowed broken glass, like it was blocking the air and cutting her all at once. She tried again, and managed to stutter out three words. "I love you,"

The corners of his thin lips turned up in a familiar smile. "Quite right, too," he replied, his light tone darkening, still clear, but now oh-so solemn and grave. "If I don't have much time, I'd better say it now, while I can ... Rose Tyler, I -" but even midword, he faded and disappeared, pulled back and away.

He wished for more time as a single tear traced its way down his face, spinning and shimmering as it caught the light, falling away. He wished for the time to tell her he loved her, more than anything else. He wished.

But their time together was over.

Post-Doomsday.