A/N: Sorry if this story is incredibly crappy. I wanted to upload something and this was the result. Yeah. I can imagine this going on for a few parts, but I don't know. GAHH. Review? Like? Hate? That would be nice. I also don't own Doctor Who. Yeah.
"I'm her. She's me. Sound familiar?"
Once more, he was alone.
It felt strange, now, loneliness. After being around all the people he loved, saving the world with them- he'd never felt so alive. His family, the people he kept living for, all happy and brave and working together. He'd never felt so part of something for hundreds and hundreds of years.
But it was over now. They were all gone.
They'd gone back to where they belonged- where they needed to be. Getting on with their lives; maybe not saving multiple universes, but no doubt, they'd be saving so many other things in their own ways. Perhaps even the world.
Sarah Jane Smith. One of the most incredible women he'd ever meet. Still protecting the Earth with her son Luke (who really was quite remarkable) and faithful K9, after all these years apart. As for Captain Jack Harkness and the remainders of the Torchwood team, Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones, he was pretty sure they'd get by, doing what they did with alien threats. Martha Jones and Mickey Smith would continue on with their lives- but he couldn't help but notice that Martha was no longer wearing her engagement ring like she was previously. Well, you never know…
A sharp prickle of sadness burned at the back of his mind as Donna Noble entered his thoughts. His best friend. The woman who wouldn't hesitate to slap him but made him laugh so hard too. The woman who he took on so many memorable adventures, the woman who was the only one who truly understand his pain after losing… The woman, who for one sparkling, incredible moment was the most important being in the whole of creation. But no, she wasn't allowed to remember that magnificent moment. Of course she wasn't. That would be too kind, too fair, too nice; reality wasn't like that and he knew that better than anyone else.
Then there was Rose. His Rose. The only person he'd met in a very long time that he could trust with both his life and his hearts.
No. Stop it. Don't think about her. She's safe, remember? You made her safe. She's with you. Another you. A human you. A you who can love her in a way she wants, needs, to be loved.
But he couldn't help it. He wanted her back, so very much. He knew he had to give her the chance of the life he could never have, with the half-human version of himself- he was still with her, sort of. And he knew it wasn't going to be easy, not at first, but it would get better. The pain in his hearts would dull and he would move on, eventually. Even if it took three regenerations and hundreds more years.
But one thing was for certain; he was going to travel alone from now on. No more friends he would grow to love then lose again. No more. He was too old now- he didn't like to admit it, but his hearts wouldn't be able to cope if he had to say goodbye again.
Find. Love. Go. Repeat.
He reached out for the TARDIS console, skimming his fingers across the coral and the metal. His hands were greeted with a comforting warmth, his faithful ship soothing him through his pain. The TARDIS. The one constant in his life that would never turn her back on him. He didn't have to say thank you out loud, she just knew.
She always knew.
"Right!" the Doctor announced, beginning to dance around the mesh platform, pulling levers and twisting regulators as if nothing had happened. That's just how it worked. He's project out that big smile and carry on. The universe didn't stop because the Doctor was hurting. Time and space still needed protecting. "Where to now? The Lost Moon of Poosh? Well, I suppose it'd be the Found Moon of Poosh now that I, well, we, found it again. Nah! That's rubbish! Just the Moon of Poosh, now, eh? Always wanted to go to Poosh. The grass is bright purple and it sings in the breeze! Can you imagine that? Grass that sings! What do you think…"
He looked around the control room. Oh, yeah. Right. He forgot for a second that he was very much alone.
"Talking to myself," he murmured, reducing his tone back down to the one which he really felt. He pulled the scanner across so he could see it, pretending that he didn't care. "Really need to stop doing that."
"Yeah. You really do."
"You…" the Doctor's brow knitted together tightly in confusion. That was a voice. A voice that wasn't his. A woman's voice, a cockney lilt, slightly breathless. A woman's voice who…
He span on his heels so fast that he nearly fell over.
Was it? No it couldn't… What?
But there she was- well, it looked like her anyway. All pink and yellow and brilliant. Her hair, which was a more golden-blonde than it was in the TARDIS days (he couldn't quite decide which he preferred. He quite liked the peroxide) sat straight on her shoulders, while her legs were clad in a pair of black jeans which hugged her figure perfectly. With the jeans she wore a blue tank top and a dark purple leather jacket which he recognised, as well as a pair of white Converse trainers. Like his.
Her beautiful, unforgettable brown eyes scanned a strap round her wrist. "I think I pressed the right buttons…"
He just stared at her, standing there. She finished fiddling with the strap round her wrist and looked up at him. She smiled (you know the smile) and he, for the shortest of moments, smiled back.
Then he was angry.
Why would someone do this? How could they do this to him? The TARDIS's telepathic circuits were online or something and someone was playing with him. Things you've wanted so, so much don't ever come without a catch.
"This isn't fair," he muttered bitterly, deliberately turning away so he didn't have to look at her. His eyes were dark and empty and brimming with unshed tears. "Don't do this to me!"
"Doctor…" she said, not moving from her spot. Her voice was so quiet and tinted with sadness. "It's me. It's Rose."
He turned to her, this entity, which couldn't possibly be Rose. She couldn't be real. That would be too perfect.
He was shaking with a fear he'd never felt before, his fists clenched and crushing thin air. She looked back at him, the same fear mounting in her eyes.
"You can't be here." his voice was still low, "So I suggest you leave. Now. Because you're not real. You're a hologram or something- I don't know!"
She shook her head. She was crying now. Oh, he hated to see her cry more than anything else in the universe. He wanted to hold her, he wanted her to be real.
The more you want it, your greatest desire, the more real it becomes.
But this wasn't her.
"You, right now," he warned her, stretching out his arm and pointing in her direction, "Are giving me hope that I'll see her again. And you have no IDEA how much I do. And that hope, it makes me stronger than ever, even though I know it's completely impossible and I know I could never… But that hope, it keeps me going. And you're mocking that hope. You're giving me false hope- and you really don't want to do that. Oh, no. So. Go. Now. Back to where you come from. Before I do something that you really don't want me to do."
There was a silence, for a few moments, apart from the sound of his angry, fearful yet so, so sad breathing. That, and all the words which wanted to be said whispering in his ears.
It wasn't possible that she was real. She wouldn't do this, she wouldn't leave the other human version of himself back, on his own, on Pete's World. The real Rose wouldn't do that.
They kissed, right in front of him.
Maybe one day that would stop killing him.
"I'm here, Doctor." she shattered the quiet, "It's me. I'm not an illusion, I'm not a hologram. I'm real." she smiled, the one he missed this time, the one where she was just so happy she cried. "I came back."
"Rose?" he whispered, overwhelmed.
She waved at him, beaming, wiping away a stray tear with the back of her hand. "Hello."
Memories came flooding back to him from earlier that day like a flashback tsunami.
Rose standing down there, smiling, at the end of the street.
He looking at her like all his prayers had been answered.
Her running towards him.
He running towards her, nothing stopping him.
Apart from a Dalek laser.
Her leaning down next to him, like all the universes had ended already.
Him, dying, but so, so happy. Blissful.
Because she was back.
He smiled, properly this time. "Hello."
He walked towards her, slowly, reaching out for her face, cupping her cheek in his palm, caressing her skin with his thumb.
She felt real. She felt like Rose Tyler.
That sounded weird.
She grabbed onto his wrist. "I've missed you so much…"
He just pulled her head into his chest, squeezing her tightly. He wasn't going to let go. Not ever. He needed his Rose Tyler. He wasn't going to…
How did she get here? How come that hadn't occurred to him?
He pulled back from the embrace quickly, narrowing his eyes at her. "No! You shouldn't be here! How did you get here? Nobody can teleport inside the TARDIS! That's not… You should be on Pete's World!"
That's when he noticed the strap round her wrist, properly, for the first time. Without getting overwhelmed with her presence. "What's that?"
Rose rolled her eyes in disbelief. "I've just travelled across universes to get here and all you care about is the technology? Hello again. Long time no see."
The Doctor had turned all serious again. "You knew after Canary Wharf how much damage dimension jumping can cause! After I…" he coughed, clearing his throat, "And what do you mean, long time no see? I literally just dropped you off!"
Rose winced, examining the strap again. The pain flickered in her imminent hazel irises. "Has it only been that long?"
"Why?" he pressed his hands on her shoulders, his curiosity subsiding. He had to know what was going on, but she was back. And she needed him. "How long has it been for you?"
Rose let out a long breath. "Since Bad Wolf Bay? The second time? About..." she looked up at him, a small but unhappy smile playing on her lips. "A hundred years?"
"Oh, good. Only…" then he paused, assessing her answer. Then his eyes widened. "What? Only a hundred?"
She broke eye contact. "It's complicated. I mean, really complicated."
He grabbed her face in both his hands and forced her to look at him. "Tell me. Because you, Rose Tyler, don't have a life span that long. And even if you did, you wouldn't look the same as the day you left."
Rose sighed. There was nothing she could hide from the Doctor, not now. "You trust me?"
"Always." he said, without hesitation.
"Well you're gonna have to trust me that bit more." she pulled his arms off her shoulders and let her hands slip into his. Where they belonged. "Can we go somewhere?"
"Not until you tell me…"
"I'll tell you there. Wherever we go. I'll tell you there." she smiled, fluttering her eyelashes a little. "Please?"
He gave in. He always gave into her.
"Fine. But only because it's you." he grinned at her, jumping across the console, her not far behind. "Allons-y, Rose Tyler."
"Just like the old days!" she laughed. Oh, how she missed this.
"Just like the old days!" he repeated and laughed along with her. He missed this too. "How about somewhere where the air smells like Applegrass?"
They were sat, on the Doctor's coat, amongst the dark green blades of apple-scented grass. Incredible, futuristic vehicles flew about above their heads, heading for the glass towers and ultramodern city of New New York which lay in the distance.
New Earth. The year Five Billion. The first place she'd ever been with the Doctor in his tenth regeneration.
"You have a lot to tell me." he stated, propping his head up on his elbow so he could see her.
She just lay back, staring up at the sky. "Does it need saying?"
He frowned. She was quoting him. Bad Wolf Bay. "You know it does."
"Yeah, well, that's what I thought all those years ago too." she scoffed.
"You know I couldn't." he mumbled.
"So you pawned me off with the duplicate instead and expected him to trust him straight away." her face fell, "Not that he wasn't brilliant, in the end. He was."
"I couldn't do anything else," he said helplessly, "He was me. I was him. You trusted me, right? So you trusted him too."
She shook her head. "You know it doesn't work like that."
He was silent for a few moments, mulling over words in his head. He reached out for her hand and squeezed it between his fingers. "Let's not start off like this, Rose. Just tell me what's happened. Please."
"You said that you trusted me…" when the Doctor looked at her cryptically, she took a deep breath. It was like she didn't want to say anything else. "Well, I lied to you."
He let a finger brush through her hair. "Why? What have you done, Rose? You've always known that you don't have to lie to me."
She poured out the words, reluctantly.
"I'm not the real Rose Tyler."