Those Memories

Set in the SwitchVerse.

"There, all sorted! Just another misunderstanding with the locals. Nothing we can't handle, Rose! You and me, unstoppable!" The Doctor spun on his heels and turned to face her, troubled by her silence and the nudge of her mind that told him something was wrong. "Rose? You're crying." He stepped closer, peering at her, his eyebrows knitting together. "What's wrong?" He stroked her hair away from her face, lightly placed his hand over hers and pulled it away from her eyes. "Why are you crying? Talk to me."

She looked up at him, more tears streaming down her face as she saw those forming in his eyes. "I don't remember you."

Her horrified tone of voice and the look in her eyes as she spoke broke him. He sobbed, tears pouring down his cheeks but he wouldn't let go of her hand. "What do you mean? How can you not remember me?"

"I do, sort of. 'Cause I love you. I know I'm completely in love with you because I feel it."

The slightest curl of his lips became evident, but the tears continued to flow despite the touch of hope. "Then what?"

"I don't have a single memory of you." He couldn't restrain from wiping her tears away, it was some small comfort that she let him. "I don't remember meeting you, our first kiss, first time, not even hearing you say 'I love you' for the first time."

He tilted her chin up, making her look him in the eye. "I love you."

With a weak smile she looked down at her hand as her rings caught the light, she stared silently for a moment then let out a sob. "I can't remember our wedding day."

"Oh, Rose." He lost his remaining restraint and wrapped her in his embrace, letting her bury her head into his chest as sobs wracked through them both. "I'm so sorry, so so sorry. Don't cry." He held her tighter, fighting to concentrate on working out some way to fix it but his mind kept focussing on her distress; all he could see was her crying and his Rose forgetting everything he'd ever shown her and she was at a total loss because of it. She couldn't remember even a single one of the thousands of moments together he treasured and it wasn't the same if they'd never happened for her; she'd been inside his mind, poured herself in and was meant to be stuck there and now he could feel her slipping away, like she was just the tiniest of whispers on the edge of his consciousness. "I love you, Rose, more than anything. Always have, always will, you are everything." He found his mouth running away with him as he searched for something to comfort her. "I love you, I love you." He squeezed her tighter before easing her away from him, leaning down so he could look her in the eye. "I'm completely in love with you." He pulled her into his arms again but purposefully held her gaze.

"And I know I love you." She closed her eyes, her expression softening. "Doctor, my Doctor."

He touched her cheek, making her open her eyes as he leant closer, nodding his head. "Always your Doctor."

"So how can it all be gone? How can they just take those memories out of my head?"

He wiped the tears from his eyes so they wouldn't cloud his view of her beautiful face. "They can't." His eyes widened. "That's exactly it, they can't." He pressed a chaste kiss to her forehead. "See? You're brilliant, always have been." The complete sincerity and loving tone of voice both eased her distress, but only a little. "Just look at it, you still love me. You don't remember a single thing, not me rescuing you or you, me, or the nights spent curled up together, or crossing the Void to find me, not even bonding your mind to mine, and yet you love me."

"It doesn't make sense."

He nodded. "Exactly; it doesn't make sense because you can't have forgotten. I mean I might have fallen for you so quickly but I remembered seeing you for the first time, hearing your name, you saving my life, it was all there. I remembered you." Again he kissed her forehead, the tears still pouring down her cheeks making it equally impossible for him to stop crying. "So for you to still love me the memories can't be gone. Oh my beautiful Rose, you're right, they can't take your memories of me because it's me, and not because I'm anything special but because our lives are so intertwined, I'm a part of you like you are with me, you couldn't be the Rose you are today without me so it has to be there. It's all still in here." He touched a finger to her temple. "In your beautiful mind because we're intertwined Rose, in every possibly way, our minds are intertwined and even when they've tried to stop that I can still feel you."

"So you can bring it back?" Rose looked up at him, eyes pleading and it took everything he had not to kiss her and pour his love into kissing away the pain.

"I can bring it back. None of it's gone though, they physically couldn't take it away so they did the next best thing and shut it away." He went silent and for a moment simply watched her. "No, no." He ran his fingers through his hair, leaving it in a mess. "They tried, but oh you're strong and you fought back, defended yourself and locked what they were after behind a door in your mind where I could open it. I know you can't remember right now, but when you let me bond my mind to yours it left everything open to me, like mine is with you, and if I look for it I can find that door and unlock it, you knew that."

"Please." Tears still streaming down her face she watched his troubled expression, instinctively reaching up to brush away his tears.

Her touch stopped his train of thought; he closed his hand over hers. "Oh Rose." He could hardly believe he was smiling. "My beautiful Rose, always wanting to take the pain away."

"Then make me remember."

He pressed a lingering kiss to her forehead. "You have to trust me. You'll have to relax because I need to go into your mind, deeper than you can feel now." He wrapped what he could feel of her mind in love. "Feel that?" She nodded. "That's me, I need to find the door in your mind and open it. But I'll only do it if you trust me."

She nodded with conviction. "I do, I trust you."

That warmed his hearts, it was some comfort to know that whatever happened he always had her trust. "Alright, just relax." He leant his forehead up against hers and framed her face with his hands, gently pushing deeper into her mind. "You're doing perfectly." He began to search through her mind, it filled him with her love to see her still baring her mind to him, she was completely open to him and her faith in their love still astounded him. "Almost there."

He could have sworn she almost laughed. "I can feel you, so, so gentle, loving, beautiful."

"I must have told you a thousand times before but I want you to know that you're more beautiful, every inch of your mind, everything you are, just beautiful." He stilled. "There, found it, the only door. Rose?"

"I'm okay."

"You might feel this, like a pin prick, maybe a bit stronger. And I love you." He reached for the door and slowly, gently unlocked it and pulled it open.

Rose gasped. "Doctor."

"I've got you." He withdrew to his normal depth in her mind, arms wrapping around her as he held her up. "Is that better? Remember Henrik's and under the Eye? Remember Bad Wolf? Our first Christmas? The first time I kissed you?"

She nodded, tears streaming down her face again, but this time out of joy. "Everything. Oh I remember marrying you." She breathed a sigh of relief. "I remember the look in your eyes as I walked down the aisle." She leant into him and felt his arms tighten around her as she sobbed into his chest. "Thank you."

Tucking a curl behind her ear, he gently stroked her hair. "Anything for my Rose." He pressed a kiss to the top of her head. "You know I love you more than anything."

Rose nestled into him and willed her emotions to calm. "Then what would you have done if you couldn't bring back the memories?"

"Don't. That didn't happen, can't happen, won't ever happen, I promise you; you're too strong."

"But what if it does?"

"Trust me; it can't. Our love is stronger than anything, even the Universe itself, Rose, you've proved that."

"But what if it does?" She urged him. "What if the impossible happens and something makes me lose those memories?"

He squeezed her tighter. "Then we'll just have to make new ones."