A/N: I felt like crying when writing this. Honestly. I couldn't help it. Listening to Rose's Theme while writing didn't help, either. This is slightly angsty, a bit depressing, and very, very... I don't know. But I'm incredibly proud of this.
Please review! Please. It took me so long to write, and I would love to know whether my tears were wasted xD
Disclaimer: Doctor Who does not belong to me.
The hologram fizzed and sputtered. It took a good few seconds for the deformed waves and lines on the projection to untangle themselves and work their way out of the hissing static. Then, the image gradually became clearer, despite it being slightly grainy- but you couldn't expect perfection from a hologram. They lasted forever and never went out of date, but the quality was a little, well, seedy. Not that it mattered. It was the content in which this hologram possessed that mattered, not the way it was executed.
The blurring and stuttering finally subsided, at last, and there she was. Her mid-length blonde hair sat scruffily on her shoulders, and she was wearing a plain T Shirt and leggings. She looked like she'd recently emerged from the shower, and he would've assumed that, only she was wearing mascara and eyeliner across her lashes and lids- like she was deliberately trying to make herself up.
That annoyed him no end. How many times did he have to tell her? She didn't need to wear any of that stuff when she was with him. She was beautiful enough already. She didn't need anything else to prove it.
She stretched out her neck, looking at the camera which she obviously filmed this hologram on. "Wait," she muttered, obviously to herself, but obviously to someone else too. "Am I in frame?"
She reached out and adjusted the angle the jauntily placed camera was on. He could see her face, biting her lip, as she did this. "Always been crap at photography, me. And I know you're probably sitting there thinking no Rose, you're brilliant at photography, but I'm seriously not. That's why I usually let you hold the camera. But I suppose this time, I have to do it. Ah, well."
She smiled to herself with a hint of pride, obviously proud of herself for getting the lens in a sensible position. She pushed herself back up against her bed with her legs crossed, in her original location. "Be prepared for some more rubbish filming on my behalf. I've made a tripod out of a pile of boxes and I can guarantee, combined with your reckless driving, that this camera will tumble onto the floor. And break, probably, knowing you and me." she paused for a second and smiled to herself, like she was sharing a private joke within her head. "A pile of your boxes, by the way. Why the heck do you own this sort of…" she stretched out her arms to represent a stick, "Cane thing with a question mark on the top? It's actually the tackiest thing I've ever seen. And I'm saying that after you took me to the Blue Markets on Jupiter's second moon. You'll have to explain that to me… Sometime. Oh! And yeah! I've found that book you were looking for…" she leaned out of the screen for a moment, and he could hear her scrambling about in the space in front of her. "Oh. Never mind. False alarm. If you don't know what I'm talking about by the time you watch this, forget about it."
Then she sighed. "Sorry this isn't a video or something that's easier to play, Doctor. It's just… Well, I've been a bit creeped out by televisions since getting my face sucked off by one of them, and…" she coughed, "Videos and DVDs, you can tape over. Holograms you can't. And even though I know you wouldn't tape over me on purpose, I know what you're like. Don't think I've forgotten the time you taped over The Notebook. I am still very, very angry because of that."
She grinned and pointed her finger at him. "Nah. I'm not really. I can live without The Notebook, but if you dare tape over Titanic, I might actually kill you."
She was silent for a few moments, just looking down at her legs. It was like she had so many things left to say but didn't know what order to say them in- or how to say them. Usually, he could never get her to stop talking, but when it came for her to speak, she would just go quiet. She lost her words when she needed them most.
"Right. Okay." she leaned forward and began talking again, "If you're watching this, Doctor, I know I'm… Or you've be snooping around my belongings again and you've spotted a box of things in my room with your name on and you've thought, Oh, what's this then?" she gave the camera a stern look. "Seriously, if you're watching this before I'm, well, gone… Stop. Now. Please. I know how curious you are, but this is serious. This is… Uh. God."
He could tell that she was forcing out a grin at the camera. He could tell that she was trying to hide the fact that she was feeling just as lost, just as desperate, as he was at the fact he was watching this message.
"Right now, I bet you're wondering what exactly I'm doing locked away in my room. You never liked it when I wouldn't tell you what I was doing. That feeling has always been mutual, though, I guess. I bloody hated it when you went off and did you own thing without telling me what you were doing. I just felt a little left out, I guess. When Jack was here, with us, and you two would natter on about spaceships and wars and I would just sit there, nodding along and laughing when you were laughing…" she faltered, "That doesn't matter, though. It never really mattered, Doctor. Because all I care about was the fact I was with you, that we were together."
She continued on. "Krop Tor. You know that impossible planet that was orbiting around that black hole? You might've forgotten it now. A part of me… Well, it kind of hopes you have. Forgotten it, I mean. Because if you remember, we obviously haven't been together long enough to do any more memorable things." she laughed, in spite of the situation, "Anyway, that's where we've just been. And that's when I decided to tape this for you. When I thought I'd lost you, without even a goodbye, a proper goodbye… I was heartbroken, Doctor. I didn't want to leave you –I am never going to leave you- and it killed me to know that you were lost in the dark and…"
She stared at the ceiling to distract herself from tears. "Sorry. Well… Yeah. It was horrible, Doctor, having to go into that shuttle without you there. It was horrible to think that I was going to have to live out my life without you… But you came back. And I was so, so happy. But what if you hadn't? No, don't look at me like that. It was possible. What if you had died? I would've had to live out my life without you without even knowing your feelings and not even holding your hand. And if I die…" she coughed back a sob, "I don't want you to feel like I did. I don't want you to not get that goodbye. Because you deserve that, Doctor. You've given me so much, and now, I think you deserve a bit back from me."
She just stared back at the lens for a few seconds, her big, unforgettable, brown eyes looking right past the glass and right into his. They were so real, so full of life, it was almost as if she was there, sitting opposite him. Not a whole universe away.
"I didn't want to make this video upsetting for you, Doctor. I've never been one of those people who wants their loved ones to be sad when they're gone. I wanted my last goodbye to you to be cheery and happy and funny, just like all the times we've had together; but I can't help…"
This was when her tears began to fall more freely- not closed up and crammed in and held back like she was trying to do. Rose had too much emotion, too much passion, to keep herself strong during this.
"I promised you forever, Doctor. But if you're still watching this, I obviously haven't given you it. Which is so, so selfish of me. What kind of person would I be if I broke my promises? So don't blame yourself if I'm… That's my fault. You've always done every little thing to protect me, so me dying on you is completely my fault. So don't you dare feel guilty about that. I knew how dangerous travelling with you could be and did I stop? No. I carried on. I carried on running, right to the end, I expect. I could've seen all the terrible things that happen when I'm around you- I could've turned back there and then. But I didn't. Because then, I would've missed all the brilliant things too. Like…" she rummaged around, out of shot, before bring bringing a pile of what appeared to be papers into view.
She smiled to herself as she brought one of the papers, which turned out to be photographs, up to the lens. It was of her, him as his previous regeneration, in the TARDIS. "Remember this? Jack had the camera. It was just after the Blitz…" she laughed to herself then continued, "Sorry, it's just so weird saying that. After the Blitz. Like it's normal. But I s'pose, every single sentence I say around you is a little out of the ordinary… And, yeah, you were trying to prove to me that you could dance –which you couldn't, by the way, this video is not for ego-boosting purposes- and also to try and show up Jack a bit. Yeah, I knew you were jealous of him. Don't think I didn't notice that. But, Doctor, I loved it. You and me, dancing." she smirked, "So to speak."
She then dropped the photograph onto the floor and brought another up to the lens. "Christmas, this year. Mum was beyond happy that you could stay for dinner- and so was I, even though you'd changed. I can't believe I though you didn't want me, then. When you regenerated. And I almost felt like crying when you set me straight- good tears. Happy tears. Then it snowed." she rolled her eyes, "Whatever, atmospheric disturbance, I can hear you correcting me now. But it was snow, to me."
And the list went on for a while after that. She reeled off adventure after adventure, memory after memory, friend after friend. She just talked away, knowing he was listening intently.
He always listened to her.
"So…" she trailed off, trying to configure her next words. "I've put everything in this box for you, to look at. If you want. Like, if some point, you might be missing me, maybe… You can just have a look in this box and remember all those amazing times we had together- the times I wouldn't ever change. Because some things you can't rewind, Doctor. This tape, you can stop, start again… But us, we can't. Even though you have a time machine that could go back and change history so that you'd never watch this tape- don't. Because I don't want that. Even if I'm dead, even if we're separated." she hesitated, "If we are separated, you don't have to worry about that, you know. If we're separated, I'll do absolutely anything to get back to you. No matter how many times I fail, how many times I get knocked down, I will get back to you." she grinned, genuinely this time, "You knew from the beginning that you were stuck with me, Doctor. Once you sign up for Rose Tyler, there's no getting rid of me. And I'm not letting dimensions and universes stop me."
She let out a long intake of breath and cleared her throat. He could tell that this was coming to an end. He wanted her to keep talking and talking for ever and ever until time stopped and even after that. But all good things came to an end.
But did amazing, brilliant, incredible things have to end too?
"Okay… Well, you kind of know what's coming next. I'm sure this camera thing runs out of film at some point, and I know you probably have stuff to do… Or maybe not, seeing as you've found this box. I know that I have to do stuff, too. You were saying something earlier about twelfth century Spain, so maybe that's where we're going."
She broke off. For a long time. So long, that he thought that she wasn't going to speak again. "I… I…" she groaned, gripping her face in her hands. She was lost again. "I… I love you Doctor. I mean, you probably know that already, I bloody hope you do, but here I am. Saying it. I love you. I've loved you since you grabbed my hand and told me to run when you blew up my job, even though I thought you were slightly creepy. And annoying." she grinned, "What? You were annoying! Can you blame me when you kept stereotyping me as a 'stupid ape'?"
She bit her lip, bringing her tone back down from humorous to grave. "And I'll always love you, Doctor. If I'm dead, if I'm gone, if I'm a whole universe away… I will always love you. Don't you forget that. I know what you're like."
Then, quite suddenly, she looked rather worried. "Oh no. The camera thingy has started flashing red- that's not good is it? Oh, well. I better keep talking until it cuts out. I think a bit of you has rubbed off on me- your ability to ramble. Anyhow, there's a few things I want you to promise you'll do for me."
She had four paper packages in her hands, each with a different name scribbled on them in her perfectly messy handwriting. "I suppose you've already found these if you're watching this, but I want you to deliver them. If I'm lost, if I'm gone, I want these people to know. I don't know how you'll do it, I don't care how you'll do it- if it massacres timelines and creates a paradox or whatever, I still want these people to know how much I love them. Mum, Mickey, Dad and Jack. I know you'll disapprove, and I hate using the guilt trip on you, but please. Do this for me."
She placed the packages neatly back on the floor.
"There just letters," she announced superfluously, "I know they'll complicate things and you'll probably end up with a few more slaps than is really necessary, but you understand how these people just have to know. And you… Well, I made this for you, right? I just couldn't write you a letter. I had too much to say to you. Plus, my hand was hurting like hell and I was rather depressed after writing those other four."
She laughed. For the last time in a long time, for him. She laughed.
"Another thing you have to promise me, Doctor," she grimaced at her words, like she couldn't imagine someone else living the life she had. She didn't want to say the next sentences, but she had to. "Find someone else. Don't sit around, pining after me. Not that you would, of course, but if you did miss me… Find someone else. Chances are you probably won't see me again…" she paused for a few moments while she choked out a few sobs, "That's not what I want, but if I'm dead, there's really not much I can do about that. Mind you, I would've gone down fighting. For you."
He wanted to reach out to her. Wipe away those needless tears.
"If we're separated, don't wait around for me. I don't want you lonely while I'm gone. You're my best friend in the whole of the universe, Doctor, and I'd never want my best friend to be lonely. So find someone to confide in, someone you can trust. Someone you can love… Maybe not exactly in the same way, but similar."
She cursed under her breath, looking annoyed at the camera. "Right, according to that I've got one point five klicks of power left, not like I know what that means, but I guess that's not long. I've used up a whole tape for you, Doctor."
She crawled up, right up close to the camera, so close he could almost reach out and touch her. She blinked a few times, like she could tell what he was thinking. "Right. One last promise, Doctor. Well, two actually. And no, I am not 'a bit greedy'. These are the most important." her voice wavered for a second to clear her throat, "A while ago, when you thought you were going to die, you set up a little protocol thing on the TARDIS for me to watch. Not quite as long as this, but you understand what I mean. At the end of it you turned and faced me, like you knew that I'd moved, and you told me something. You told me, if I could do anything for you, it would be to 'have a nice life'. Well, that's what I want too, Doctor. I want you to have a nice life. Better than nice. Fantastic. Molto bene. Just like you told me to have. Please. Just assure me that, Doctor."
He could see her eyes brim with tears she had yet to shed. He sort of remembered this now- when he found her all teary after being in her room for a while. How could he forget? He never forgot when Rose Tyler was upset. She said it was just Krop Tor taking its toll on her, but it was obviously so much more than that.
"Also, Doctor, never give up." she reminded him. "When things are looking so miserable and broken that all you want to do is break down and cry, or when things are so without hope and so cruel you want to scream and yell out, stop. Just, stop. Think of me, and think of how I said this. Because wherever I am, whenever I'm giving up, I'll think of you and I'll carry on."
The hologram started to sputter.
No. Please don't go. Not yet. Please.
"Sorry," she apologised, "This thing says I've got nought point three klicks left. I would talk longer, but… Oh well. One more thing, Doctor."
She smiled, so big and so beautiful and so, so precious, that he just wanted to freeze the film right there and keep it on forever.
But he couldn't.
"Thank you, Doctor. Thank you for everything. Because, you know what, I wouldn't have missed it for the world."
The hologram fizzed. The image in front of him became displaced and hazy.
Then the image went.
She was gone.