Sorry to anyone who was expecting a new chapter of Symbiosis ( Which I usually update today,) but I've been really busy as of late. So here's this instead!
This fic includes the deleted scene from Journey's end, so if you haven't seen that, go find it now. Or don't, I don't mind. watch?v=FcqdojFsuNo Or here's a link. :D
Set seconds after the Doctor leaves Rose and the Metacrisis on the beach.
The sound of the departing TARDIS echoed in their ears. A faint square was sunken into the sand before them, the only evidence that the magical blue box had ever been on that beach, on that world, in that universe. The only proof that the two of them had ever seen what they had seen and lived through what they had lived; gone by tomorrow, erased by the waves as the tide came in.
The Doctor who still stood on the beach stepped closer to the other form.
"Rose…?" She didn't look over, didn't even blink. One might have though she was a statue, save for the wind running its thin fingers through her hair. She stood, stock-still, on the damp sand as his fingers brushed hers, aching for some sort of contact. She swayed for a moment, falling half-way to the sand before he caught her and wrapped his arms around her waist to keep her from slipping further.
"You left." She muttered into his jacket softly, making no effort to leave his arms. He said nothing, simply nodding sadly though she couldn't see. (He couldn't deny it, he had left her. But he was also here.) "Again."
"I know." He pressed his lips into the top of her head. The waves roared in the time between their words. "Rose, " he muttered into her hair. "You need to understand." She tensed beneath his fingers, pulling herself away to look at him properly.
"I do," she protested weakly. Neither could bring their eyes to meet the other's. "I can't go, he can't stay." She sighed shakily. "I 'spose this is what's best, yeah?"
His breath caught. "No," he said. Her eyes widened. He didn't want this? (Of course, she chided herself. No-one had asked his opinion in this whole mess.) "He could have stayed and you could have gone. He was- we were-" he corrected. "-being selfish."
"How so?" She asked, dubiously, letting out a shaky breath. ( She hadn't expected him to say anything, never mind what he did.)
"Because we're his dream." He continued after a while, rubbing his fingers across her knuckles and tugging on his ear with his other hand. "We're everything he wanted for you. A life…a real life, with a job and a house that's a proper home. Doors and things; Carpets, a mortgage. The whole she-bang." He paused. " Never saying that again." He muttered, before continuing. "It's all he wanted for himself, but could never let himself have." Rose opened her mouth to say something, but he continued on without giving her a chance to say anything.
"We're a life he can live with you. Forever. You're keeping your promise, Rose. You'll stay with him forever, in his memories and dreams. Forever, he'll keep us alive, pretending a life for us for as long as he lives. When we're long gone, we'll be alive to him. He won't have to face your death, Rose. Ever. " He threaded his fingers into hers. "Meanwhile, I get to live his dreams. I get to grow old with you, have the life he wanted. I get to see you smile and laugh and live, Rose Tyler."
The wind blew between them, in the moments that felt like hours.
" That is," he hesitated, her silence making him nervous. "If you want that. I could go, if you don't… If this is all too much." (He hoped it wasn't. But no one had asked her, he remembered, if she wanted a half-alien dumped onto her life.)
And suddenly she was wrapped in his arms, shoulders shaking and hands trembling against his chest.
The two of them stood there for ages, crying and comforting and simply being.Eventually, somehow, they lowered themselves onto the sand, ignoring the wet that seeped into their clothing. They whispered softly about everything and nothing, about things that didn't matter and things that did. (In comparison to that fact that they had one another again nothing much mattered.) They avoided anything that brought painful memories – the strange, sad look in his eyes, the scars that had made their way onto her skin, or what Martha had meant when she said that he'd finally found her.
The sun was low, reaching for the waves on the horizon, when the airship to take them home finally arrived (The Doctor loved that word, home. It reminded him of laughter and the feel of Rose's hand in his. ) and Jackie pulled them from their reverie.
Their hands never parted from that moment that they left each other's arms to the moment where they could be back in them, sitting on one of the uncomfortably stiff chairs in the observation room. The world moved slowly around them and they sat in silence, untouched and long forgotten cups of tea resting on a table nearby. It wasn't until they had reached the door of the mansion that somebody spoke above a whisper, though it stung at their ears as it shattered the silence.
"Rose, why don't you show him around? " It was more statement than a question. " I'll keep Tony busy."
"Thanks, mum," Rose replied quietly, guiding him up the stairs.
"This'll be your room, Doctor," she told him, trying to open the door while her dominant hand was clasped in his.
"Still the Doctor, then?" He replied quietly, cautiously, in case it had been a slip of the tongue and that wasn't who he was to her anymore. ( He'd be happy no matter what she called him, as long as she did.)
"No arguments from me," She smiled softly, leading him into the room. He squeezed her fingers tightly before dropping them, shoving them into his pockets and rocking on his heels. He looked around the room. (It wasn't bad, but the distinct lack of the soft humming of the TARDIS unnerved him.) A bed sat against the wall, the comforter a light brown instead of the deep red that it was in his old bedroom. Next to the bed there was a small end table, placed upon which was a rather large lamp and a rather small clock.
A rug sat on the floor, shades of browns and whites entwined in a tight spiral. A large wooden dresser sat by that, against the wall and beside a door that he assumed led to a bathroom.
"My room's right next to this one," Rose said after a few moments, letting out a breath that she hadn't realized she had been holding as the Doctor assessed the room. He grinned at her, but it didn't quite reach his eyes. She smiled back, though, and pretended she hadn't notice. (Her smile didn't reach her eyes either, but like her he pretended not to see.)
The Doctor nodded slightly, and she held out her hand to him, unconsciously desperate to make the silence comfortable again. (This was a different silence; a threatening, thick one and not a silence of warm words and soft hands.) He took it in his, interlocking their fingers as if doing so would create a knot that could keep them both from fraying.
(In a way, it would.)