Yesterday I Died

by mara-anni

He looked so sad, tears glistened in his eyes.

He moved away but was having trouble walking, leaning against the brick wall for support.

There was something wrong, so wrong.

He staggered around the corner, struggling along toward the TARDIS, standing a few meters away.

This wasn't right, this couldn't be right. What was wrong with him? He was groaning, in extreme pain. And he was alone. Why was he alone at a time like this?

The snow drifted peacefully around him, carpeting the pavement and kissing the tips of his unruly hair. It cushioned his knees when he fell. He looked up. An Ood stood there. He wore blue and the communication orb he held glowed in the dark as he spoke.

"We will sing to you, Doctor. The Universe will sing you to your sleep."

He managed to get to his feet.

"This song is ending," the Ood continued. "But the story never ends."

He made it to the TARDIS and pushed through the door. With heavy, tired movements, he threw his coat across the usual strut and then checked his hand. It began to glow.

The tears he wouldn't shed still welled in his eyes. He looked so unhappy.

He tucked the hand into his hip and moved around the control console, using it to support his weight, and pulled a lever. The TARDIS activated, the central column moved and thrummed.

But the song…the song the Ood spoke of, continued. It was everywhere, all around. Within and without. It sang of loss and of triumph. Of love and of sacrifice. And it sang of gratitude, eternal gratitude.

He only had the strength to manipulate those few controls.

He raised his eyes – so full of anguish and despair.

"I don't want to go." The Doctor erupted, blazing like the sun and all around him the world burned.

She woke screaming. The grief in her chest made it impossible to breathe and she was blinded to the world around her. Barely aware she was in bed, she sat up and clutched at her chest, as though she could dislodge whatever was in there. Panting and struggling for breath she heard a piercing wail and realised it had come from her. The world solidified around her and she felt the vicelike grip on her elbow and heard his voice.

"Rose!"

Blinking, she looked up into the Doctor's eyes. No pain…there was no pain in them, only concern. That's when she realised she was weeping, sobbing.

She threw her arms around his neck, holding onto him for dear life. "I thought I'd lost you."

"Not today," he said and held her, arms wrapped around her; a hand smoothed the back of her hair. "I've got you. I'm right here. It was just a dream."

"Nightmare," she mumbled into his shoulder.

"Wanna tell me about it?"

"I…I'm not even sure what…"

She wasn't sure she could talk about it, not yet, and the memory of it was already fading. All she could clearly see was the blinding gold light of regeneration, and a song; she had a song in her mind that made her heart ache. She shook her head, pressing her face into his shoulder. She took a shuddering breath, but didn't let go of the Doctor, she couldn't. He didn't seem to mind and just held onto her. She didn't know she was trembling until he mentioned it.

When the trembling stopped, he leaned away, but only a little. Only enough to swipe the tears away from her cheeks, though more just replaced them.

"I'm sorry, I can't seem to stop it," she said. She tried to wipe them away herself. "Don't worry about me, you should get some more sleep."

"Nah, this sleep stuff is overrated. We could have a midnight snack!" He grinned at her like a schoolboy out for trouble.

But she didn't think she could eat. Something was still in her chest making it hard to breathe.

"Tell me another story?" She heard the tremor in her own voice.

He shifted, leaning against the bed head and held out his right hand, his lucky hand he still called it, wiggling his fingers. She couldn't help but chuckle. She scooted over next to him, leaning her head against his shoulder. The safest and happiest place in the world, she thought, stroking the fingers of the hand that gripped hers so securely.

He pressed a kiss to the top of her head. "Did I ever tell you about the time I met Agatha Christie?"

"As if," she said, though she didn't really doubt him.

"No, I did! Me and Donna. There we were enjoying a lovely upper-class cocktail party in a garden in the 1920's, when up saunters Agatha Christie! It was brilliant. I love Agatha Christie..."

"Wait, let me guess. It was a giant alien slug disguised as the butler in the kitchen with the candlestick."

"Hey, who's telling this story? Besides, it was a giant alien Reverend wasp. A library and a led pipe."

She laughed, dabbing absently at her face with the tissue the Doctor had given her.

"No it really was. Or…well, it wasn't so much a wasp as it was a Vespiform to be exact. But I'm getting ahead of the story. Stop interrupting. So cocktail party…Agatha Christie…"

She concentrated on the story, she loved it when he told her of adventures he'd had without her. It made her feel a part of them somehow, even though she hadn't been there.

Rose started. "Cyanide?"

"Oh yes. Not a problem, really, but here's a tip: Never play charades with Donna Noble."

She smiled, relaxed again and let him continue. At some point he'd gathered her up, and she lay listening to the double drum beat of his single heart. Hot tears continued to streak down her cheeks, soaking into the Doctor's pyjamas, but she no longer noticed.

"Another mystery solved," she said when he'd finished, looking up at him with heavy eyes and a sleepy smile. He drew a thumb across her cheek. It came away wet, but her mind was too muddled and drowsy to understand why. She wondered vaguely why he wore a frown.

"Where to next?" she asked him.

He pointed up to the ceiling toward the stars beyond it. "I was thinking that way?"

She burrowed into his side, satisfied. "More adventures for us tomorrow."

"And the day after."

"Forever."

"Forever."