Beta read by the ever so lovely, Charina :) x
It's Sad When It's Over
He didn't tell her what he was doing until it was finished. Almost twenty years had passed since they married and in that time they had two children; Donna Tyler and Sarah-Jane Tyler were nineteen and seventeen years old. Rose had insisted they stay in school and live a normal life, and so they watched their daughters grow and learn as they lived in a house as normally as an Heiress and leading Torchwood officer could with her semi alien and top Torchwood scientist husband. About five years ago, the coral the Doctor had given them grew into their very own TARDIS, from which came his very own sonic screwdriver, and he and his family were finally off, travelling the stars and adventuring on weekends and holidays.
All of that time Dr John Noble had worked hidden away, trying to find a way, anyway to return, until one day he found the solution. He gathered Rose and their daughters and off they went, landing with a bang. Rose beamed across at him, the same spark in her eye she had all those years ago when he took her to the end of the Earth. "Where are we?" she asked,
He grinned, "Home."
Rose frowned at him, turning slowly to the doors, and stepped out to a London street. She looked into the sky and almost cried. No zeppelins. She spun around to face him, "How?"
He shrugged, "A bit of this, a bit of that, some jiggery pokery in between, all in all it took me almost twenty years to figure it out, with quite a few large breaks of course," he smiled at their daughters, "Dee Dee," he smiled, "Sarah. Welcome to Our World. Our universe of origin."
It wasn't exactly what she had been expecting, when Charlotte told her she had a visitor. She had turned to expect a floppy mess of hair, perhaps covered in a ridiculous hat that she would have to dispose off, accompanied with a wide grin and a bowtie. She hadn't expected to see spiky hair, glasses and a pinstripe suit. Not at all.
He smiled, "Professor River Song!" he rocked on his converse covered toes, "Absolutely brilliant to see you again, how have you been?"
"Horrible." Snapped River, "Thanks to you. Do you have any idea how torturous it is to live in here? Nothing is real, time doesn't exist and there's nothing to live for or die for. Nothing to do. It's a prison."
To her surprise his smile widened, "Oh," he smirked, "Then you won't mind if I get you out then?"
River arched an eyebrow at him, hands on her hips, "And how exactly do you plan on doing that, Pretty Boy?"
"Like this." And then everything around her shifted, the world around her blurred into light, bright white light and she had to close her eyes, her arm coming up to block it from behind her eyelids.
She blinked. It was dark, the only light a faint blue glow and River realised she was in The Library, in the data core where she had died. He stood before her, beaming away like a child that had just successfully performed some new trick. "Hello."
River looked around. She still wore the gown and cardigan she had been given in CAL's computer systems but she was real. Alive. She could sense time all around her running normally, twisting and turning and knew she was safe. "Hello."
"I'm John." he said, "Not, I'm not him. Well... I am him and I'm not him. Just... you can call me Doctor, but, I'm John. John Noble."
"You're the meta crisis." she stated it, not questioned. It made sense to her. Of course her Doctor didn't dare try to save her, no, the Doctor that had the love of his life already did. The one who knew exactly what it was to be so heartbroken and alone, but to have all of it so clearly behind him.
"Yup, that's me, Mr Meta Crisis." he grinned, "Oh! You should meet Rose; Rose!"
River suddenly became aware of the TARDIS behind him. It wasn't her TARDIS, she could feel the difference between them quite clearly, but she knew this ship to have been grown from hers. Part of it seemed so familiar. As she considered this, a blonde woman stepped from the foreign TARDIS, smiling hesitantly.
River beamed, "It is rather amazing to finally meet you Rose. I have heard so very much about you."
"I wish I could say the same. I've only been told what he knows. It's not a lot."
Sadness flickered briefly through River's eyes and she ducked her gaze for a fraction of a second, "No, I suppose it wouldn't be."
"I don't suppose..." John interrupted, "Seeing as I'm not him, never going to be him, that perhaps you could... tell me who you are?"
River laughed, "Oh Doctor, that would be telling."
"Oh please, come on, I'm not ever going to be him, it doesn't break any time lines, or rules." He tilted his head at her, "Please?"
"Dad." they all turned to the TARDIS, and River saw a young girl with long brown hair and big doe eyes, clearly the daughter of John and Rose, poking her head from the doors. "Can we go and meet him now? Please?"
"River," John smiled, "Meet our eldest daughter, Donna Tyler."
River nodded politely as the girl stepped from the ship, she was followed by another, slightly younger girl though they looked to be twins, "And our youngest," John continued, "Sarah-Jane."
The Doctor swallowed, slowly falling to his knees at the console of the TARDIS as he shook with tears. It was done. She was gone. He wasn't ever going to see her again. River, his wife, the woman who had captured his hearts so completely, was dead.
He cried. For hours and hours the Doctor sat on the glass floor and cried, sobbed and wept for his loss. There was nothing else he could do, nothing else he wanted to do. He cried because if he didn't he might not remember. If he didn't he might never have the strength to tell her parents. He cried because he had to.
But then he heard a door open and jumped up to find, but it was impossible, a TARDIS parked in the doorway. A TARDIS, a TARDIS that wasn't his own had landed in the console room and the door opened and there was Rose of all people stepping from it. She looked older, and her big brown eyes -even after all these years- were oh so familiar and laced with worry. She licked her lips and spoke, her voice soft and hesitant. Completely unsure.
He stared at her. Definitely older. It had to be her, it was completely impossible but it just had to be her, of course it was her. "Rose." He murmured, his voice surprisingly sturdy for someone who had been crying for what was probably many hours, "Rose Tyler." he gave her a weak smile, "You've grown."
She smiled, nodding slightly and looking down at her feet, "You've changed."
"Yes." he said, "You look good."
"So do you." That was a lie. He looked a mess, sprawled across his glass floor in a suit, his hair rumpled, his face red, his eyes puffy and wet, nose running. "You got younger."
The Doctor laughed, "Younger, huh. I'm old, Rose, so very old. And right now... I feel like I'm the oldest I'll ever be. I'm at my end, I think."
"What?" Rose suddenly moved forward, "Are you hurt? Injured?"
He laughed again, a hollow, bitter laugh, "Not physically."
The Doctor began to cry again, softly, silently, the tears slipping down his cheeks without him really noticing. "I lost her." he said, "I lost River. And I knew it was going to happen, all this time, I knew I was leading her there, to die. And I'm never going to see her again, Rose." he swallowed, sitting up a bit straighter and looking into Rose's sad brown eyes.
"She was part Time Lord, you know. She could even regenerate, until I stole that away from her." He barked out a sad laugh, "She saved my life and in doing so destroyed any chance of continuing her own. But that's River." he sighed, "She was conceived inside the Time Vortex and it changed her, went right into her beautiful head and made her like me. My bespoke psychopath. My wife."
Rose reached out to take the Doctor's hand, and she squeezed it softly, "I need to show you something," she murmured, and then she stood, making her way around the console, flicking switches and pulling levers with ease.
River almost cried as she heard the TARDIS brakes grinding and wheezing as the beautiful, beautiful ship landed before her. She stopped talking to John and his daughters, and just stared, waiting. The doors opened and Rose stepped out, her expression unreadable.
"Rose?" Called a voice, a voice River had thought she would never hear again, "Where have you- River."
He stood in the doorway, her Doctor, and River stared at him. "Hello Sweetie," she whispered,
"River." He stared at her, "I..."
"We should step inside." she told him, "The shadows-" But she was cut off after that, but the Doctor's lips on hers as he pulled her close and kissed her so deeply she felt they might become one.
"You're alive," he whispered, "You're alive. Oh River, you're alive! You're back! You're safe." He held her, squeezed her so tight and buried his face in her curls, "I love you River, I love you so much."
River smiled, holding him just as tightly in return, "I love you too, Sweetie."
"You're alive, Oh River, I can't believe you're here. You're really here."
"I'm here." she murmured, pulling back and looking him deep in the eye, "I'm here, my love. I'm alive."