Summary: It been nearly a century since he'd lost her. Now, finding her by chance, he learns that there is a way to have her once more. – Nine/Rose with Ten.
He's lost track of the years. How long has it been? Fifty? A hundred? He's died so many times since that day that it all had seemed to blur together. No, not his body. He's still that young handsome face with big hair and nice smile, but on the inside…he might as well be an old man who's seen too much in life. Hell, he is that old man in truth.
"Doctor?" Sandra called softly next to him, the latest in his growing list of companions throughout the years. She was a sweet girl, woman, with dark brown hair and green eyes. She had three brothers waiting at home for her, and he was suddenly guilty that he invited her to tagalong with him a couple of months back. "Are you alright, Doctor?" she tries again, and he made a point this time to focus.
"Fine, Sandy," he smiles, happy that she can't tell he was lying.
"Where are we going now?" Watching as she moves with a little bit of pep in her step, something he usually found amusing, he couldn't help but curse it silently this time. He wasn't at all feeling chipper right now.
"Where heading to the planet Smadlor, home of the Fed," he answers anyway. "A peaceful race for the most part."
"What does that mean?" she asked, still dashing around the control room like a child waiting impatiently to go to the park.
Rose use to do that, he absently thought, ignoring the tension the woman with him was causing.
"They're a religious bunch. As long as you don't insult them, they'll be nice to you."
That must have made sense to her because she made a clicking sound from her cheek before her head snapped up and down with a sharp nod. "How much"—
Her question died in her throat when the Tardis made an abrupt jerk. Alarms and sirens when off all around him, and he was cursing loudly this time as he dashed around the control console. Levers slammed here, button where punched there, but nothing helped as they were jerked around, slammed through time and space.
This was normal to him, it happened enough that he didn't really worry about it anymore. So, when the ship came to an abrupt stop, slamming both him and his companion down onto the grates, he just chuckled a little before turning to Sandra not too far away, but it wasn't Sandra he saw for a fraction of a second as she rolled onto her back, laughing. No, for just a moment, his heart swelled as a flash of blonde and pink spanned through his thoughts.
Cursing yet again to himself, he pushed upwards, moving to help her up in return. "Are you alright?"
"Fine," she giggles, thoroughly pleased with recent events. "I'm never going to get tired of that." Again, he found himself suppressing the pain that shot through him at hearing those familiar words.
"You alright, Doctor?" she asked, quickly noticing the sorrow that filled his eyes. "You're thinking of her again, aren't you?"
Taken back, he turns to the console as his body begins that slow ache once more. He didn't need to answer her to know that was a yes. "Its been nearly a century, Doctor. You can't keep beating yourself up like this."
Feh! What did she know? Rose was everything. She was the only true good thing in his life and he had long lost her to both space and time.
"Doctor," she started slowly, resting a gentle hand on his back, but he shrugged her off before pushing back. Hearing her soft gasp, he couldn't find it in himself to care right now. Laughing softly, he found he was turning into the bitter old man he had been when he first met his Rose. Only this time, she wasn't here to fix him.
"God get your bag," he softly mutters out before heading for the doors. "I'll be outside waiting."
Without another word, he leaves her standing there by herself as he breaks into the afternoon light. The heat from the summer sun beating down on him as he gratefully basks in its warmth. He needed this. As much as he loved his ship, she brought up too many memories of the past. Sadly, even she missed her. Turning to look as his pretty blue box, he rested a gentle hand against her, relishing in the soft hum she returned to him.
"I'm sorry," he breaths out. "I shouldn't take my anger out on you." A responding hum meets him in return, and he shares his pain with the only living thing he had left that understood.
Jackie was gone, died many decades back. He had visited her often after he lost her. Mickey had been gone for a year prior to that disastrous day, so they only had each other. Him and her mum. For a woman that had tried her hardest to but him through hell, she had been an angel when he lost her.
"Doctor," Sandra called softly from beside him, "is this Smadlor because it looks a lot like home."
For the first time since he stepped through the doors, he took a steady look around him. Sure enough, there weren't any of the old temples that would have littered the Fed's home world in sight. Instead, there were strips of shops and high risers all around, people, humans, rushing around. Some in a hurry, others not so much.
"Seems like your coordinates got jumbled up again," she chuckles softly, and he couldn't help but lighten a little at the familiarity of London. He hadn't been here since Jackie passed.
Breathing in deeply, he starts moving, leaving Sandra to tagalong behind. "Where are we going?"
Normally, he loved questions. He criticized anybody who didn't ask them, but right now, he wanted silence. He knew well where he was heading as his feet moved on their own under him. He just didn't want to voice it. It may hurt more if he did.
"Doctor?" she tried again, and as he continued to ignore her, he wondered why he dragged her along if she only managed to irritate him most of the time.
Because its better than being alone. Sadly, that was the truth.
Rounding the corner of Powell Estate, his gaze instantly fixed on the small apartment on the second floor. His heart swelling at the familiar sight. Nothing's changed. It was still that same ugly pink.
"Doctor?" The voice that he heard didn't belong to the girl he knew was standing there. No, he knew that soft London accent didn't belong to the Irish child that was with him, but for a moment, he welcomed the thought that it was his Rose.
"Doctor," Sandra started again, her voice a little sterner, "there's something going on."
Following her gaze, it seemed like the world had slowed down to a crawl as he watched the sight of her in the distance. Her blonde hair and bright colored attire was unmistakable through the distance. Despite all these years, he would recognize her anywhere.
And as his hearts began to grow back into its steady rhythm, raster now as anticipation raced through him, he was already taking off down the street after her.
Running with everything in him, he couldn't help but curse how fast she was. Granted, she was obviously running for her life, but still, she was running from him. For a moment, his heart stopped again when she turned back, her eyes scanning over him before turning forwards again at a faster pace.
With a grunt, he turned down a side alley, intent on a shortcut. It worked out wonderfully as his hand encircled her wrist, tugging her into the darkness as her pursuers ran right past, missing their hidden forms against the old brick.
Pulling back, he once more found his breathe gone from him as he stared down into her beautiful grey eyes. She truly was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen in his entirely long life.
"Rose," the whisper of her name on his breathe. She was here. She was alive and here.
"Thank you for your help," she smiled at him, but he knew that smile. His heart fell at it. She didn't know him. "You can let me go now," she continued to smile at him pleasantly when he made no move to step away.
He didn't want to, but he didn't want to upset her either. She didn't know him. How could she not know him? There was no way she would have forgotten. Unless this wasn't his Rose. No, his Rose was stuck in another dimension. But, his Rose was also his dimension's Rose.
Silently groaning, he had no idea what was going on.
"Are you alright?" she asked, pushing from the wall just a little, but it brought her that much closer to him. When he didn't answer her, she moved just that little bit more. "You don't look too great."
He chuckled softly at that. That was his Rose alright. "Just lost," he whispered softly, more to himself than her.
A soft smile touched her face, and he loved seeing it on her. Its been far too long since he'd seen that smile. When her hand slipped into his, he could have sworn he was going to soar. "I'm sorry."
God, he missed her. It took everything in him not to crumple into her right now, to crusher her against him, to not feel the softness of her lips against him own. She didn't know him, and that knowledge alone almost made him drop.
When he was quiet for a little too long, she pulled back. She took another step back when he instinctually followed her. "I should go."
He grabbed her hand when she spun to leave. "Don't." When she just stared at him, he let his hand drop. "They could still be out there," he offered, trying his best to keep himself in check.
"I'll be safe."
He scoffed at that. "Like you were a moment ago?"
She shot him that scowl that he was far too familiar with. He remembered how it use to annoy him at times. Now, though, he was only finding it amusing like he had so many times in the past also.
"Fine," she groaned, and he couldn't help but grin at that. "But I still have to get back," she whispered softly.
"I'll come with you," he offered.
His grin faltered just a little before she breathed out a "fine."
Taking her hand, he noticed her gaze shoot down to where he held her, but she didn't say anything. "Where we going?" he asked, loving how it felt like his world was slowly starting to come back into focus.
"Just down a couple of blocks."
Peaking around the corner, there was no sign of the men from earlier. Pulling her out with him, he let his hand drop as he walked beside her. "Who were those men by the way?"
He wanted to shake her when she shrugged, he always hated that as an answer. "Don't know really."
"You don't know who was chasing you?" Typical Rose. "Do you know why?"
"Can take a guess," but he didn't get more than that. With a groan, he so desperately wanted to shake the answer out of her.
"Rose," a man called, and he could have sworn he was going insane when the owner of that voice came pushing through the afternoon crowd.
"Doctor," his name falling from her lips, but it wasn't him that she was running to. It wasn't his arms that she leapt into. It wasn't him that was holding her, crushing her against him.
But all in all, it was him in the end because this man was him. His form before he regenerated all those years ago, with slightly big ears, a daft old face, and sky blue eyes. Was he in the past? No, he would have remembered this. At least now he knew why she didn't recognize him.
"You had me scared to death," he heard himself say, still not relinquishing his hold on her.
"Sorry," and he could hear the mocking in those words, "but its not my fault if you worry too easily."
"Bloody hell woman," he groaned. "You're always getting your self into trouble."
"It's not my fault! You're the one that disappeared."
"I only turned a corner!"
"Well, I'm fine, you see. Alright?"
"Thank heavens for that."
He stood there. There really wasn't much he could do. This obviously wasn't his past because he sure as hell would have remembered this. So, where was he? Obviously not his future.
"Doctor," his gaze instantly shot up to her, but he hadn't been talking to him. "I want you to meet someone."
"Oi," he heard himself groan. "Not another pretty boy."
"Hush you," she snapped, finally pulling away from him. "Doctor, I want you to meet," but her sentence died there as she turned to look a him. "I don't know your name."
His name? Yes, she did. Granted, he was him, the man standing next to her with a comfortable hand on the small of her back. Also, he wasn't quite sure if this was breaking any sort of taboo in time. In truth, he didn't know what to do. This man wasn't his past nor his future. What did that leave? Another him.
As though everything clicked into place, he felt the weight of reality hit him. He was in another alternate reality. One where he still had Rose. One where he never regenerated.
"You alright, boy?" the man before her, himself, asked him. He noticed the slight shift in him, how he moved just a little to stand that extra bit in front of her just in case this stranger was somehow a threat. He also noticed how those blue eyes widened just a little, and he knew, not matter where time went, he would always recognize himself. "That's not possible."
But the words came to a crashing fault when Sandra's call echoed his name. A news paper was in her hand as she came to a stop next to him. "The Tardis shot us into a parallel reality." And one where he still had Rose.
"Doctor?" Brown and blue turned to her, their Rose, at that soft call. "What's going on?"
"It seems our friend here," the other him chuckled softly, "me, actually, got himself thrust into another reality?"
"You're the Doctor?" Sandra breathed, baffled.
"Yes, I am." And he suddenly realized how cocky his smile had used to look. Right now, it was irritating because he still was holding Rose. Was it even possible to be jealous of yourself?
"But," she murmured, "you're old."
"So nice of you to mention," he grinned, but he knew that was full sarcasm. "But seeing as I don't remember looking like you at all in the past, that means I must have regenerated in your reality at some point."
"Doctor?" Rose called, and they both noticed how suddenly stiff she was. "They're here again."
"Right," he sputtered, grabbing her hand, "run." And with that, the four of them took off in the opposite direction than the scary men in black suits.
"Just like that movie," Sandra laughed as they rounded a corner. "Men In Black."
"I love that movie," Rose grinned. "Tommy Lee Jones is so cute." Both men groaned at that.
"I like Will Smith," Sandra beamed. "He was awesome in Independence Day."
"Will the two of you stop," he heard himself yell. "We are trying to run for our lives."
"Doesn't mean we can't get to know each other," Rose countered. "Besides, when aren't we running for our lives?"
She had a point. Thankfully, though, he didn't have to argue the matter as the Tardis came into view. It wasn't his Tardis, but it was a Tardis nonetheless.
"Thank heavens," he heard himself breathe as the doors slammed closed behind them, effortlessly protecting them from the men in black.
"Doctor," Rose smiled, crouching down next to her companion, "are you alright?"
"You are going to be the death of me, you know that?"
She just grinned before placing a soft kiss of his cheek. "You love it." No, he love her. But his body went stiff when he noticed the slight teasing in her eyes before she added, "besides, I'll make it up to you later."
"How odd," Sandra breathed, and he followed her gaze around the familiar architecture of the control room, but it was different.
He didn't keep knickknacks, but he knew the touch of Rose when he saw it. There was a picture here, and another there. A couple of flowers were hanging from the arch columns while potted plants sat strategically on the floor. It wasn't crowed. No, it was nice actually.
"That's my mum," she said, coming to stand next to him as he spotted a picture of Jackie. She looked older, late sixties. Rose had been long gone in his reality by then. "She died a long time ago. I like having pictures of her around. It helps sometimes."
A long time ago? The woman in the photo was nearing seventy, which wound make Rose almost forty. How did she look like she was still nineteen?
"Rose," the other him called. "With those men still outside, it seems we might have company for a while. You want to go make one of those meals I love?"
"Sure," she said, not at all fooled that he was asking her for some alone time with their new companion.
"Why don't you join her, Sandra," he muttered. Looking over to the man across from him, he amended it with, "if that's alright?"
"Of course," Rose smiled.
He looked to the young woman next to him. Sandra didn't know him like Rose did, but she did know that he had been crying over his lost love for nearly a century, and now here she was. He understood the concern in her eyes as she walked away, and he couldn't help but watch her, his Rose, walk away with her. A small part of him leaving with her as she disappeared.
"She's not yours," he hear him say, and he could hear the possessiveness clearly in those words.
"No," he breathed, feeling that loss eat at him all over again. "I lost mine."
They were silent for a while as he watched him, this other man, this man who had somehow lost the most precious thing in their entire life. He couldn't image what his life would have been like without her. She was the only thing holding him together. "How?" he found himself asking as the silence began to stretch.
He felt the pain as his young face rose up to look at him. "She was pulled into a parallel universe during a battle before it was sealed off. I couldn't get to her."
"How long ago was that?"
Silence as those brown eyes darted around him. He pretended like he didn't know, like he lost track, as though that might help in some way. "Ninety three years ago, seven months, and five days."
Yeah, he knew.
Silence engulfed them again, and he watched as this man, himself but much younger looking, scanned over the pictures closest to him. "How long ago did Jackie die?"
"Feh, she was a spit fire, that one," he snickered, trying to keep the anguish from eating at him. "About fifty years ago."
With a startling quickness, those brown eyes shot over to him. "Rose?" the question uttered with just that one name.
It suddenly occurred to him how lucky he was. Not only did he still have his Rose, they had that forever she had promised him all those years ago. "In your world, did you fight the Daleks on Satellite Five?"
"Yeah," he breathed. "Sent her away, but the bloody woman wouldn't stay gone. Came back and saved me."
"And you tried to save her." He couldn't help but break a little at the look of pain that danced in those brown eyes. Only Rose could do that to him. "Took the vortex out of her."
"It killed me, regenerated me into this," he said, gesturing to his person.
"It didn't kill me." That one statement brought on a whole onslaught of questions. But before any of them could be asked, he continued on. "I heard, centuries ago, before the war, that when you regenerate, you can force the excess energy outwards. I forced it into the Tardis. I healed, but didn't die."
"Rose?" he asked, wanting to know.
He laughed softly at that. "Bloody fool of a woman. Could have killed herself, but she was so relieved that I didn't die that she all but attacked me, absorbing my essence as I was still healing. Tied her to me, it did."
And suddenly, it made sense. She was still human, but she carried a piece of him. As long as he was alive so was she. If is he regenerated, his essence was still there.
"She's kept her promise," he smiled.
As though knowing what the younger him was thinking, he couldn't help but grin. "She promised forever, and when did Rose Tyler ever break a promise?"
Smug, what other word could possibly describe the tone that came from him. It was easy for him to be confident and proud, he still had his Rose.
"Time is a funny thing," his daft old self muttered, pulling his attention back. "If you see the outcome in one reality, does that mean you can't change yours to match?"
He knew the answer. Here, Rose was his, forever. In his reality, it was possible. "The Tardis shot me here on purpose," he finally concluded. That blasted old ship was always meddling, but right now, he was utterly grateful for it.
He wanted to run right then. Take off for his Tardis, go home, change time and keep his Rose, but he couldn't go without Sandra. She was a sweet girl, really, but she wasn't his Rose. He knew she was developing feelings for him, and if he told her what he was planning, she would try to talk him out of it. That wouldn't be a good thing right now. He was always on the edge of rage whenever someone harmed his Rose, and being so long without her and finally finding a way to have her, he wouldn't know what would happen if the girl tried to fight him on it.
Mustn't tell her then, he concluded, heading to find his latest companion.
Sure enough, they were in the kitchen. Rose was elbow deep in soapy water while Sandra sat at the table, flipping through what looked like a photo album. "Hey there," Rose beamed as she snatched up a towel. "Enjoy your little talk?"
The other him, the daft old him, didn't hesitate to stand beside her. "I think we cleared some things up."
"Yeah?" she smiled. He loved that smile. "Tried to get this one to talk to me," she teased. "Found our photo album, she did."
Walking around the table, he immediately knew why his young companion look so very displeased despite how well she was hiding it. It was pictures of their live, well this Doctor and Rose's life together. There was even a wedding picture. She looks beautiful, he silently breathed at the image of her in a simple wedding gown. That daft old him was standing next to her, pretending to look bothered by the whole thing, but he recognized the look of joy that was in those blue eyes.
"Jackie tricked me into that one," his older self muttered, noticing the page they were staring at.
"Oi! If I remember correctly, you didn't much argue over it," she snapped, jabbing a finger into his chest. It was then that he noticed the ring on her hand. It held a beautiful stone, but gorgeous in its simplistic design of some twists and turn. Just like his Rose, beautiful and a little complex.
"I did argue," he rebuffed, offended at the idea that he would just give into Jackie Tyler like that.
"No," she smirked, "you pretended. I'd seen you two argue. If you were adamant enough, if would have drawn out for weeks, not just a couple of hours."
She had a point, and the other him must have realized that also because he was suddenly quiet, sulking a little against the counter.
"So, are you two staying for dinner?" she asked, turning back to the two at the table.
"No," he smiled, not missing the silent joy that danced in Sandra next to him. "We should be heading back to our reality. Mind given us a lift to my Tardis?"
"Nope," his older self grinned before the four of them headed back to the control room.
The time it took to get back to his Tardis was rather short in his opinion, and as he stared at her, this other Doctor's Rose, he knew there wasn't a force in the universe that could keep his Rose away from him now. He knew how to keep her, how to let her keep her promise of forever. His Rose loved him, and he loved her. God, did he love her, and watching as this other Rose silently whispered something playfully in his ear, he couldn't help but grin. He was getting his Rose back.
"Sandra," he called, nodding to the couple at the control console before leaving this Tardis and heading into his.
"Where to?" she asked as the engine started, that all too familiar sound that was only his ship.
"Home," he declared because that was the truth. He was going to drop her off back at her brother's before changing his history, the world's history. Whatever battle he had already fought, he was going to live through it again, but this time, he was going to have his Rose with him.
"You're leaving me here, aren't you?" she asked as the Tardis came to a stop in front of her brother Danny's house. "Because of her?"
He didn't need to answer that. "You wont remember any of this," he tries to offer, but its too late.
"She's just any other girl," she cries out, frustrated that he didn't even care that he was leaving her for some silly blonde. "I've been here for months"—
Whatever she was going to say died with that statement as his harsh brown eyes fell on her. "I told you, tried to make it clear to you, when you asked to come that there could never be anything between us. You asked why, and I told you. She may be human, Sandra, but she is still mine. I wont give her up if there's even a remote chance I can have her again."
"And me?" she asked, tears of frustration breaking through her green eyes. "What am I?"
"Not mine," he answers, cold and distant. To be honest, she was annoying and clinging. He honestly couldn't remember anymore why he let her come. Loneliness made men a fool sometimes.
He was half aware when she stormed down the ramp, slamming the door behind her as she left. Rose did that once and he had run after her. Now, he was running after her again, running through time to be with her.
The Tardis engine came to life with a blissful hum. Even she missed her. "Thank you," he breathed to her. "If you didn't do what you did, I'd never have known." Now he did, though, and as they whipped through time and shape, he silently chuckled to himself. Never in a million years would he have thought that he'd defy his own rules: never interact with your past self. There was no idea what could happen.
He had an advantage he realized as his ship came to a stop. He didn't look like himself.
Pushing through the Tardis doors, he took off down several blocks before coming to a halt just outside Henrik's. Sure as everything, there he was, his daft old self was breaking into the basement in search of the Autons.
Standing there, he was suddenly at a loss. What the hell was he suppose to do? Its not like he could just go up to himself and say, "Oi! When you're dying, instead of changing, send the excess energy into the Tardis. Oh! And make sure Rose snogs ya!"
Yep, that'd go beautifully.
He must have been standing there longer than he though because he was suddenly watching himself running out of the back with Rose. No matter how many times he sees her, she's still beautiful. Always.
Maybe this wasn't the best approach.
With the Tardis in mind and another time, he leaves. He knew exactly where to go and what to do. Turning the dials and pulling levers, they took off, fading into the underground museum in Utah.
As he opened the door, he smirked at the mirroring image of the Tardis next to him. He didn't have much time. With a note in hand, he disappears into the Tardis, this other Tardis, moving down the hall to the library. He always remembered what he read, and slipping the note into the front page on one of his favorites, he grinned before living the museum all together.
He was dying, no ifs and or buts about it, and as she stood there, staring at him, he felt his resolve break. "Stay back, Rose," he yells at her when she gets too close.
"Doctor, what is it?"
"I've absorbed the Time Vortex, and no one's suppose to do that," he grins, fighting the pain that wanted to tear him apart. For Rose, to save her, he'd do it again in a heartbeat. "I'm dying."
"You can't," she cries, moving just that little bit closer, and he wanted to scream at her. He did this for her, and she was going to get herself killed anyways because she was too close.
"Doctor," she yells again, drawing his eyes up, "don't leave me."
The note, he scoffs, annoyed that a simple piece of paper was what he was thinking about right now, but as the note ran through his mind, he couldn't help but grin.
Don't be daft. Energy is nothing more than that. It can be transferred but never lost. Use what you need and give away the rest.
It had been a strange thing to see sticking out of one of he Charles Dickens' books. He had brushed it off at the time, but now, it gave him an idea.
"Rose," he grinned, "stay were you are. I'm going to try something."
She just nodded, happy that he wasn't giving up, but she listened, holding steady as a roar tore through him and a flash of light erupted everyone from him. The blinding gold flew out, surrounding the area around him before seeping into the console, the heart of the Tardis. She hummed beautiful, hungry for the power.
And, as the light faded from him, his body barely staying up on its own, she ran to him. His limp form crumbling into her arms as she kissed him, loving the taste of him against her, loving how he pulled her closer.
"You're alive," she breathed against his cheek, kissing his face.
He grinned as he pushed up. He felt alive, more so than ever before. Staring at her, he knew why. She was his light. If he was honest with himself, he really didn't know what he would do without her. Probably go mad for one.
"Doctor," she smiled at him, tears streaming down her cheeks, "I love you."
Who would have thought that such words would destroy every ounce of control he held. With a hunger he never thought possible, he crushed her to him. Her body molding against his as he lifted her into his arms. The Tardis must have felt his hunger because his room was suddenly much closer than it had been before.
Falling onto the bed, he pushed up long enough to see the image of her spanned out under him, his person covering hers.
But this was not time for romance. They had years worth of romance to encourage. No, right now, he wanted her. He needed her more than he ever could have imagined. His Rose.
And as they tore the clothes from their bodies, he growled in the bliss as he imbedded himself within her. Her soft moans echoing in his ear like a siren's song, blissfully pulling in him into her hold. He knew there was no turning back. There was no end to this, and he love it for it.
No, he wanted that forever that she promised him. He wanted her beside him as time continued on through the centuries, and as he felt himself mixing within her, his essence pour into her with each kiss and thrust, he knew he was going to get it.
With a growl and a moan, they stilled as time met them once more. "Rose," he breathed out, finally realizing that he had bound her to him without asking her.
She smiled, a gentle touch stroking his cheek. "I know. I promised you forever, remember? Since when do I break my promises?"
With a throaty rumble, he nuzzled her neck before rolling onto his back, bringing her to lie on his chest. He loved the feel of her hand against his bare skin, playing softly with the hairs there. "I love you, my Rose."
"And I love you," she grinned, and he loved the feel of her lips against his chest.
Yes, this was how it was suppose to be. Him and her, his Rose. Not even time could take her away from him now.