Refresher (not sure why you need one since I updated yesterday AND today…): Rose, the Doctor, and Lazarus all kicked the bucket in the last chapter. River got shot in the arm, and some guard that no one gives a shit about got shot in the leg. Rose had the memory-filled screwdriver in her hand when she died, so it saved her data ghost to it. The Doctor, too, had the memory-filled screwdriver in his hand when HE died (aka, when River iced him), so he ALSO had his data ghost (plus his memories) saved to it. (Off screen, but assumed): River takes THIS screwdriver and sends it off with her journal to her past Library self. So, when the Library River gives the Tenth Doctor the screwdriver in the Library, the Doctor ends up actually saving himself and Rose to CAL, and NOT saving River. So pretend like that bit in the actual show (when River is off in lala-virtual-reality land) never happened. Okay. Here we go.
The Doctor opens his eyes and sees patches of blue sky. Clouds quickly parade by overhead, and the wind whistles loudly past his ears. He finds that he's lying on his back in pale grass. I know this place, he thinks. He lifts his head a fraction to see a stream of hover cars flying along the horizon. New Earth. This is his virtual reality? New Earth?
He drops his head back down on the ground and sighs. All of the memories in his head flood together – he remembers when he was his tenth regeneration, but he also remembers his eleventh. Most painfully, he remembers not remembering. The full weight of the pain he caused his companions bears down on him. How he unceremoniously left Rory and Amy. And River. He closes his eyes as his hearts hurt for River. She saved him in every way possible: she saved his forgotten memories, she saved him from killing Lazarus, she saved his life on multiple occasions, she saved his data ghost, and, somewhere, she saved Rose. She did all of this because she loved him. If he could say anything to her, in this moment, he'd tell her sorry.
He traces his fingers over his face and finds that he's still in the body of his tenth regeneration; after all, that was the body he wore when he died. The Doctor touches his forehead. All he feels is smooth skin. No blood. No bullet hole. His muscles relax; he no longer has anything to worry about.
"Doctor?" a voice asks, barely audible over the wind.
The Doctor rolls his head to the left and sees a familiar face. Rose is lying on her side, her yellow hair blowing every which way. She gives him a wide smile – one of those smiles that make the skin around her eyes crinkle.
"Rose," the Doctor says, unable to keep from grinning back at her. "Did you pick this place?"
"I think we both picked it," she says. She hesitates. "I died, then?"
He crawls over to her until they're both resting on their sides, facing each other. His nose nearly touches hers. "I died too, to close the rift and be with you." They don't speak for a few moments; instead, they listen to the wind. Then, the Doctor says, "I have to apologize to you about something."
"What could you possibly have to say sorry for?" she asks, frowning.
"I love you," he says. "And I didn't have the sense to tell you when you were alive."
Rose gives him a look. "Just because we died, it doesn't mean we're not alive." She kisses him, and he pulls her in close. She buries her face into his chest, nestling the top of her head beneath his chin. "I once told you I'd stay with you forever, Doctor. Through every adventure. I meant it."
The Doctor considers this. "Well," he says. "Now you can."
See? They got a happy ending in virtual reality world. I know this chapter was short, and that the refresher-plus-endnote is probably longer than the chapter itself, but I hope you'll forgive me. And if you're wondering what happens to the other characters…Well, at the beginning when Amy and Rory set out with the Doctor, they were told it would be their last adventure with him. THEY WERE WARNED. With the Doctor out of their lives, they're able to move on and settle down and have a family. River, having inherited the TARDIS, will carry on the Doctor's do-gooding. Hopefully, she will find happiness too. Poor River. It was unavoidable, though. Someone had to get hurt here.
Anyway, I'm glad you guys saw this story to the end. I know it wasn't a long story, but I sure had fun writing it. You guys are awesome. If anything still confuses you, or I've left something unexplained (this is likely), please let me know. If not, leave a review anyway to either ego-boost or soul-crush. Or both.