Author's Note: The concept for the story is based on something Rose says to Gwyneth in the Unquiet Dead. Gwyneth is talking about how she once skipped school to see a boy and this is how Rose responds:
"I did plenty of that. I used to go down the shops with my mate Shareen. And we used to go and look at boys!"
*Note*: This story has been thoroughly edited since its original publishing (3/2/2013).
A sea of shimmering blonde locks drifted through the air, as a determined young woman scampered across the ground.
Despite being clothed in only a thin jacket and jeans, the sixteen year old seemed oblivious to the biting cold, for her focus was elsewhere.
Perched in her hand beside her aching thigh was a small plastic bag containing her school uniform, a quick reminder of where she should've been.
Speeding down the London street, young Rose Tyler tried to maintain a steady pace without drawing too much attention to herself.
"Shareen! Wait up, will you?" The blonde finally rasped, beckoning her best friend to turn around.
"Come on, Rose! Stop complaining! It's not far now!" The brunette declared, content to continue on her way.
Well, she's never gonna change, Rose chuckled to herself, knowing any further attempts to dissuade Shareen would be futile.
The two teenagers ventured on toward their intended destination amid the boisterous rumbles of the busy city.
It certainly wasn't the first time that Rose Tyler had purposely skipped class to in order to have that blood-curdling excitement pulsating through her veins, and it certainly wouldn't be her last.
Passing by an assortment of London shops, Rose reveled in the blessed smells, the harmonious sounds, the astounding sights that graced her senses.
This sure beats going to class- any day. She couldn't help think, her mouth tipping into a small smile.
But even then, she found her thoughts going elsewhere, as her mind began to ponder the worst-case scenario.
Mum would go completely mental if she ever found out about this.
Rose could practically picture Jackie's death glare, that look that she'd be more than happy to avoid at all costs.
Don't think about that, now. Just try to enjoy this. You won't be a teenager forever.
Besides, she needed to have some thrill in her life, otherwise what motivation would she have to endure day after day, always battling that sense of disquiet, unrest?
It was as if she was raw, unfinished; her life lacking some element that she couldn't even begin to find. And deep down there was fear, too; fear that she would never make something out of her life, fear that she would end up working at a shop and living with her mum forever.
Seeing Shareen stop, Rose pushed her thoughts away, focusing on the present.
With a weary hesitance, she followed her friend's lead.
Looming before the young Londoners were a series of high class shops, the foremost being a sports clothing store, which attracted the likes of certain handsome university students.
"Won't you look at that, Rose!" The brunette pointed to a cluster of muscular young men, her overtness making Rose blush.
"Shhhh! Not so loud! They might hear us!"
Flustered Rose cautiously propped herself upon a nearby bench, ushering Shareen to do the same, all the while silently reveling at the sight of those boys.
The man in the bow tie pensively stroked the controls of his time machine.
"Aha!" The Doctor nearly shrieked, as a tiny grin slipping onto his face.
"What are so happy about?" Amy Pond narrowed her eyes suspiciously, hands on her hips.
"Um…I…well; I've got something to show you! Amelia Pond, prepare to be amazed!"
Flailing his arms in a seemingly random motion, the Doctor could no longer restrain himself.
His soulful blue eyes widened as he gleefully watched the red head's nose crinkle, revealing just a glimmer of her avid curiosity.
"What is it? Where are we going? Is it a planet? A proper planet with little green aliens and stuff?"
Amy sounded hopeful.
"No, no, Pond. Nothing of that sort. Those places are rubbish anyway. Just cheap tourist attractions. Money scams. I'm taking you somewhere beyond your wildest dreams—a place where no mortal creature has ever ventured before!"
By then, the raggedy man was skipping about the TARDIS console, obviously oblivious or else indifferent to the fact that he looked like a complete idiot.
Raising one eyebrow skeptically, the ginger folded her arms in disbelief, an action that did not go unnoticed.
"Don't give me that awful look, Pond! Have I ever steered you wrong?" The Doctor spoke without thinking.
A tiny twinge of sadness flared in Amy's hazel eyes and she began to part her lips in reproach.
"Never mind. Don't answer that question. Just trust me Amy, Please. You'll love this!" Even with that ridiculous grin, the Doctor didn't seem so sure of himself.
Before Amy could reply, she suddenly crashed to the floor as a ravenous gust of wind swept over the time machine.
Frantically shuffling his hands atop a few bulging levers, the man in the bow tie tried to stabilize the TARDIS.
"Amy, are you okay?" Her friend asked after the TARDIS had materialized safely.
"'Course I am. Just a bit shaky, that's all." With that, the independent young woman rose to her feet and regained her former stance.
Seeing that Amy did not appear to be injured, the Doctor rushed towards the doors of the blue box.
He tried his best to maintain a convincing smile, though in reality, his Time Lord hearts were beating rapidly.
"Amelia Pond, I give you-"
After catching the sight of a rather disappointing London shop, he stopped midsentence.
"What? No, no this isn't fair! I had the coordinates right and everything!" He ignored Amy's glare.
"Seriously, Doctor? Of all the places you could have taken me, we end up in modern day London?" The Scottish girl complained.
"Not to worry, Pond! I'll have us back on course in no time. Come on old girl—wait—why isn't she responding?" Grumbling, the man in the bow tie wiggled the TARDIS controls in vain.
"What's wrong? Why aren't we moving?" Amy fired the first questions that sprang to mind.
"I—I don't know…but, I'm afraid the TARDIS won't budge. I think we're stuck here." The Doctor mumbled the last bit under his breath.
The man in the bow tie could sense the tension building between them.
"Actually, let me rephrase. We are most certainly stuck here," the Doctor grudgingly admitted.
Instead of shooting him another caustic remark, Amy stood quietly, her gaze faltering to the ground.
Not only did her disappointment crush every ounce of the Doctor's pride, but another matter of formidable danger gnawed at the Time Lord's hearts.
The TARDIS rarely ever does this. It can't be a good sign. One thing's for sure, I've got to check this out thoroughly; I can't have Amy in the way. She might get hurt. The TARDIS is too unpredictable.
Within seconds, he found himself concocting a convincing plea.
"Well, look at that Pond! Shops! Tons of them! Weren't you telling me just yesterday how much you wanted to go to the shops?" the Doctor slyly ushered his companion toward the TARDIS exit.
"No time to lose Pond! Get on out there! Go and buy yourself something nice!"
He had nearly succeeded in pushing her out of the police box.
"Doctor! Wait—I can't…I haven't got any money, and—"
With that, the man plopped a small folded black object into her hand.
"Psychic paper! Works every time! Off you go then!" Gripping her shoulders, the Doctor pressured her even more, despite the fact that this was truly the last thing he wanted to do.
Resisting his constant prodding, Amy halted, perching herself firmly on the ground.
"No. I can't just leave you like this!"
Her voice filled with emotion.
"I'll be fine. Perfectly fine. Besides, I'll catch up with you in no time."
His eyes silently pleaded with her, and Amy began to understand that the situation was hopeless.
"Okay, I'll go. But don't do anything rash. Come find me when you're done."
"Will do, Pond." The Doctor gave a brave solute, relieved to watch as the ginger wandered towards the shops.
But as soon as Amy moved out of sight, the man's smile immediately dissipated.
His hearts raced, pounding in his ears as he tried to assess the situation.
"Let's see. London, England, Earth. The 5th of March, two thousand and two. Does that say—no it can't be—I never land on Thursdays!" He pouted to the TARDIS, knowing she must've been responsible for this.
Shifting his hands over the blue boringers, the man in the bow tie pressed them with all his might, in the hope that his lousy efforts would amount to something.
"Ugh! Still no use! What is it with you today, Sexy? Have I done something wrong?"
More than likely something out there is bothering the TARDIS… meaning it's my responsibility to find exactly who or what has done this.
In a matter of mere seconds, the man zipped out of the blue box and into the unpredictable threshold of early 21st century London.
His slick black dress shoes frolicked over the sidewalk, and he pivoted his sonic in all sorts of directions.
It was not until his pained eyes glimpsed the offsetting sight of a familiar figure that the man in the bow tie came to an unexpected halt.
His breath caught.
There, the helpless Doctor was rendered paralyzed, his insides beginning to quiver as his one track mind able to focus on no one else besides the woman situated some distance before him.
Instantly, every last bit of color drained from the man's face, his hearts beating like mad.
"But it can't be…" the Doctor whispered doubtfully, torn between the desire to escape the loss of the past and that to embrace the woman that he had once fallen in love with.
"It's only a coincidence. It's what the universe does for fun…"
He rationalized this in his mind, but at the bottom of his hearts he knew the true reason that he'd been brought here.
The TARDIS. It wasn't an accident. Well, I suppose it never is, is it, old girl?
Even as he realized this, the Doctor could feel the scars of his past resurfacing all at once, in an overwhelming maelstrom of memories.
An old part of him, the part he'd thought had died once and for all, seemed to surface, bringing with it a feeling of dread.
Looking back at his old friend, the Doctor battled the urge to whisper her name, to draw her attention, even for a brief moment.
What about your friends? What about Amy? Doesn't she mean anything to you? That girl is not the Rose Tyler you knew. She is a mere reflection, only a glimpse of what she can become. What she will become. One day. The real Rose Tyler is with the man she loves, as she should be. Face it; the Doctor who loved her is dead. You are a new man.
But the truth, no matter how unbelievable, was that that man was in fact still living. The man in the pinstriped suit who had not wanted to go had been somewhere in that daft body of his the entire time.
He was the man who now stood crying.
As the tiny droplets formed in his eyes, the Doctor breathed in deeply, scanning the woman that he'd once loved for what could have very well been the last time, letting himself fully accept the fact that their story had finished. That somewhere in another universe Rose Tyler was living life on the slow path with the man she loved. She had come such a long way from this young, unsure girl who sat before him. She was happy, as she should be.
And, thinking back to a certain little red haired girl, his best friend, that precious Amelia Pond, who had come into his life after he'd been hurting for so long, he supposed he could be too.
The blonde and her best friend continued in their 'boy watching.'
Giggling softly to themselves, the teenage girls watched as a few muscular young men up ahead exchanged flirtatious glances with them.
Although Rose vaguely realized that she and Shareen had been at this for a while now, yet she enjoyed every minute of it.
After all, anything was better than seven excruciating hours of school.
Her thoughts were interrupted by an odd sensation.
Turning her head slightly, Rose felt the intensity of someone's stare.
In the corner of her eye, the young blonde, glimpsed the tall, dark stranger, who was quietly situated in a corner nearby.
Despite his youthfulness, there was something about him that seemed out of place, otherworldly. The way those eyes, so ancient and weathered, stared at her with such familiarity.
Her heart twisted as she watched tears pool in his eyes.
"Hello? Mate, you alright?" Rose innocently inquired, her eyes meeting his for a split second.
"Rose, what is it?" The brunette's question caused the blonde to turn back.
Rose started, realizing that the man was no longer there.
She was now staring directly at a mere shadow. Nothing more.
"But, I just saw him there…I swear…" The blonde mumbled to her confused friend.
"Who? I didn't see anyone. Are you alright, Rose?"
"Yeah…I'm fine…It's just odd… I thought…" She supposed the stranger must've been some figment of her imagination.
But he was so real! It was like…I could almost feel his pain…I dunno how. I can't explain it.
"Oh my gosh. Rose, you're crying!" Shareen stated sympathetically.
"Am I?" Slipping her fingers just below her eye, Rose realized that a single droplet had traveled down to her cheek.
On the outside a simple teenage girl was crying, but on the inside, an incredible transformation had begun.
She scarcely realized it, even then, but in the very depths of her soul, Rose Tyler felt the void in her lonely heart begin to close.
The change was gradual and barely distinguishable, and yet it was so genuine, so undeniable.
Perhaps she would one day fill the gap completely. Discover the fulfillment she'd been searching for all this time.
For the first time in her tiny, insignificant human life, Rose Tyler felt an eerie sense of hope.
Hope given by a man she didn't even know, a man that for years to come would be forever remembered as the tall, dark stranger.
Note: So, I hoped you enjoyed it. You might also be interested in reading some of my other stories (posted on my profile page). Reviews would be lovely.
Have an amazing day!