A/N: I've been working on this story for a while now, and it's almost finished. I've tried to make it as canon compliant as possible, in that I believe I don't actually contradict canon, but if you disagree, just consider it AU. The prologue and first chapter were beta'd by the fantastic Hidden in the Tardis, but she's been unable to continue, so for the rest I'll be flying without a net. As usual, all errors are mine. Since the prologue is so short, I plan on putting up the first chapter later today or tomorrow; afterwards I plan to publish once or twice a week. I don't plan on a lot of author's notes, preferring to see if I can explain everything in my writing. That being said, I have two specific ones already planned and will add more if it seems necessary. I hope you enjoy it. Please review... I am HIGHLY addicted to them! Also, this immediately follows Towing the Earth. Although it is not necessary to have read that one in order to understand this, it might be helpful to see where I am headed with this one...
Disclaimer: You all know I don't own Doctor Who. Everyone who has met me knows he owns me though. Just waiting for the Tardis to pick me up...
The light wind coming in from the bay brought a nip to the air and gently blew through his hair, fluffing it a bit more, if that were possible. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Donna tighten her coat against the cold. He felt the tails of his own blue suit jacket flap gently in the breeze.
"Alright," said Rose, "both of you, answer me this… When I last stood on this beach on the worst day of my life, what was the last thing you said to me?"
She was looking at his other self.
"Go on, say it," she insisted.
His other self said, "Rose Tyler."
When it was clear he wouldn't continue, she prompted him again.
"Yeah, and how was that sentence gonna end?"
"Does it need saying?" his other self said simply.
His heart went out to her as he saw a look of pain briefly cross her face.
"And you, Doctor? What was the end of that sentence?"
He bent down toward her and whispered into her ear. At hearing his reply, she stared at him for a moment, and then grabbed him by the lapels, pulling him towards her and kissing him. He responded with all the longing that had built up within him since he had first met her in the basement of Henrik's. But for one split second, in his mind he was standing outside himself, next to Donna, feeling a stab of pain and jealousy as he watched Rose kiss someone else.
At the sound of a door closing, Rose broke away from him and took several steps toward the TARDIS. His heart, his newly singular heart, squeezed in pain when he saw a look of shock cross her face. It didn't take telepathy to know what was going through her mind. The Doctor, the real Doctor had left her. While she had been kissing his clone. Just a copy of him. And he didn't know how to convince her otherwise.
As the TARDIS began to wheeze and groan and fade from sight, he stepped up to her and took her hand. As always, he was struck by how her hand fit perfectly in his. As they looked at each other, they listened as the most beautiful sound in the universe faded to silence.
As the part human Doctor watched Rose, she looked away. He could tell she was struggling not to cry.
"Are you alright?" he asked her quietly.
"Me?" she sniffed, attempting to smile. "I'm always alright."
The Doctor recoiled slightly at his own words being used by Rose.
Rose wiped her face with the back of her free hand and looked around. "I've always hated this beach. I'm never coming back here again, I can tell you that. You couldn't pay me to even step foot in bloody Norway again."
She looked behind her. The Doctor followed her gaze and saw Jackie, who was trying to get a signal on her mobile phone to call Pete.
"Well, I guess this is our Aberdeen," she said to him, squeezing his hand. The Doctor recognized the reference to where Sarah Jane Smith had unceremoniously been dropped off after her travels with him. "Come on, let's go home."