Dull the Sting

He had done it. He had finally done it! After months of endless searching for just one gap left in the universe, he had found it. Well, he couldn't take all the credit. The TARDIS did her fair share of work. She had worked so hard to help him, and he knew she wanted him to have a proper—more or less—goodbye with Rose. The thought of seeing her face, hearing her voice again had his hearts beating faster and faster. But, one thought always crossed his mind. He would only be an image. He could never hold her to him again, and that thought pained him.

He felt his legs start to tremble as he thought of what he would say when he saw her again. He would have to explain to her that this was the end. They would never see each again, but this didn't—not even for a second—change the way he felt about her. He was determined to tell her. She deserved to know, his pink and yellow girl who had saved him from himself.

It didn't never even occurred to him that there was a chance he could fall in love. He had always kept up pretty stable barriers to disallow anyone from worming their way into his hearts in such a manner. Then, here came a young girl that did just that. And it seemed like only yesterday they had met, and now it was over.

The Doctor sighed heavily, knowing this was going to take an emotional toll on him. He couldn't cry in front of her; he refused to. He wanted her last image of him to be standing tall, strong.

He made his way to the bathroom and stared straight into the mirror, taking his sullen appearance. There were bags under his eyes and skin was horribly pale. He wanted nothing more than to curl up in front of the fireplace with a piping hot mug of tea with Rose securely in his arms. And he couldn't have that.

"Alright," he told himself. "You have to get through this." He stared at his reflection for a long, hard time before continuing, "If she asks if we'll ever see each other again, say 'we can't. We can never…'" He felt his breathing became ragged at the thought of standing before her saying these words. The tears were hot on his cheeks as they ran down his freckled face and splashed onto his hands, which were gripping tightly onto the sink. He took a few deep breaths before looking back up to his reflection. "Just say it. 'We can never see…'" And again, it was too much. He closed his eyes tightly, forcing his screams down his throat. "Calm down, Doctor. They're just words. That mean so much."

For the next hour or so, the Doctor forced himself to face himself in the bathroom mirror and say the words. He kept on saying them until he was no longer collapsing in tears. His heart still ached and his stomach was still in knots, but he was able to keep the emotion in. He didn't want Rose to see him a wreck when he said goodbye.

"One more thing," he told himself. "You need to tell her how you feel. Three words. Just three simple words." He kept his eyes glued to himself. Those words were even harder to say. But, Rose, who had done so much for him, deserved to know. Damn it, he was going to tell her. "I… I love you," he whispered.

Doctor, it's time, The TARDIS told him.

He glanced up at the ceiling. Yes. Of course.

He made his way to the TARDIS console, his hands stroking the buttons and handles. They were soon orbiting around a supernova, and he knew a sun would be burning for this. He didn't care.

He pointed his sonic screwdriver at the TARDIS console, and she materialized in front of him. His breath hitched in his throat when he saw her, his beloved Rose.

"Where are you?" She asked.

"Inside the TARDIS," he replied. "There's one tiny, little gap in the universe left, just about the close. It takes a lot of power to produce this projection. I'm in orbit around a supernova. I'm burning up a sun just to say goodbye." He managed a weak smile.

"You look like a ghost," she pointed out.

"Hold on." He pointed the screwdriver back at the console and her image became clearer to him.

She took a step towards him. He could easily the bags underneath her eyes.

"Can I t…" She asked, holding out a hand to stroke his cheek.

"I'm still just an image," he told her regretfully. "No touch."

"Can't you come through properly?" It killed him to hear her lovely voice crack like that.

"The whole thing would fracture. Two universe would collapse."

"So?"

He felt his lips tug into a smile. "Where are we? Where did the gap come out?"

"We're in Norway," Rose told him. "About fifty miles out of Bergen. It's called Dalig Ulv Stranden."

"Dalek?" He nearly shouted. He had spent months after the Battle of Canary Wharf cursing those damn pepper shakers, as well as the Cybermen.

"Dalig," she enunciated. "It's Norwegian for 'bad.' This place translates as 'Bad Wolf Bay.'" She rolled her eyes and laughed.

He laughed as well. Those words were still following her wherever she went.

She looked up at him, her lower lip trembling. "How long have we got?"

"About two minutes." That is not enough time, he wanted to scream. Give me an eternity with her, I'm begging you!

Her hand flew up to calm her blonde hair, which was blowing in the wind. "I can't think of what to say!" She yelled, laughing.

He let out another chuckle, smiling at her oh so lovingly. There was no doubt she could see the deep hurt and deep love in his eyes. His barriers always came down around her.

"You still got Mr. Mickey then?" He asked, his eyes straying to the three people in the back, Jackie, Pete, and Mickey.

"There's five of us now," Rose said. "Mum, Dad, Mickey…" She paused. "…and the baby."

He looked back at her. No, she couldn't be. They hadn't done anything, no matter how much he wanted to. Oh, god, was he jealous? He was jealous. Maybe it was a good thing it wasn't his. He would actually risk crashing through the universe to get them back. He wouldn't let his child grow up without a father. "You're not…?" He asked, dreading the answer.

"No," she laughed. "It's Mum." He let out a huge sigh of relief. "Three months gone. More Tylers on the way." It had to have been more than three months since the Battle. How was she coping? She couldn't have been worse than he was.

"And what about you?"

"Yeah, I'm back working at the shop."

"Oh, good for you." He had to lighten the mood, someway.

"Shut up. No, I'm not. This planet's Torchwood is open for business. Figure I know a thing or two about aliens."

"Rose Tyler," he said loudly and so proudly. "Defender of the Earth! You're dead. Officially, back home. A lot of people died that day, and you went missing. You're on the list of the dead." It killed him to see her cry, and that was what she was doing. "Yet, here you are! Living a life day after day! The one adventure I can never have," he added sadly.

Rose took in a deep breath. "Am I ever going to see you again?" She asked, sobbing into her hands.

He stared at her, remembering his time in front of the mirror. He managed to stay composed on the outside while on the inside he was an emotional wreck. "You can't," he said. 'We can never see each other again.'

"I lo…." She was overcome by a choking sob, and she had to bow her head before she could compose herself. "I love you."

Now was his chance. To tell her how he felt. "Quite right too," he replied, voice cracking. He gulped. "And I suppose… if it's my last chance to say it… Rose Tyler…." The connection was broken. Her image faded away and he was left alone in the TARDIS, his confession dead on his lips. He closed his eyes, feeling a single tear slide down his cheek. He sighed, rubbing his eyes with his hands before getting back to the TARDIS console. Why did the connection have to just shatter? Especially during this time. But, she had to know. She had to know how deeply he felt for her.

He looked up, shock on his face to see a bride on the TARDIS. Not only shock, but anger. The universe was not even giving him time to grieve. It was throwing him into another adventure, something he really didn't need right now.

"What?!"

The bride turned around to reveal ginger hair and a very surprised face. "Oh!"

"What?"

"Who are you?" She asked.

"But…"

"Where am I?!"

"But…"

"WHAT THE HELL IS THIS PLACE?!" She exploded.

"What?!"

The End

Author's Note: This is also on my tumblr, Rosetylerthebadwolf. It was inspired by the tags of a Doomsday photoset I found on Tumblr. So, thank you to whoever wrote those tags. Sorry for the angst.