Five and a Half Hours

Rose wronged the hem of her shirt, her hands trembling as the Doctor was preparing to take Arthur through the time window. The glass would break, and all connections between the ship and Versailles would be broken. He would never be able to get back.

She was mad at herself for the wave of emotion that hit her when she saw the Doctor patting Arthur softly, telling him to stay calm. She was the one who told him to go through with it when he hesitated. She didn't want him to go; she wanted anything but that. But, it wasn't a time to be selfish. History was on the verge of a major breakdown, and the Doctor had to fix things like he always did.

Also, she thought bitterly, he was in love with Reinette. He'd do it even if there wasn't any history to worry about.

Rose sighed, taking a few steps toward the Doctor; he was now swinging one leg over Arthur. She had to tell him how she felt about him, no matter how blatantly obvious it was, before he was gone forever.

She took a few deep breaths, trying to ease her hammering heart. "Doctor… I…" she started to say, but she was interrupted.

"Not now, Rose!" The Doctor told her. "No time to lose! Come on, Arthur!"

"Doctor!" Rose yelled, watching as Arthur ran full speed at the mirror. The last thing she saw was the the horse's tail, before the broken mirror seemed to brick up by itself. "I love you…" she said softly, closing her eyes and allowing a tear to run down her face.

After a few moments, she opened her eyes up again and stared at the spot where the time window had been.

"The window is gone!" Mickey exclaimed. "How's he going to get back?!"

Rose stayed silent, hoping with all her heart he would find his way back to them. That he would find his way back to her.

She never left that spot; she never stopped staring at the wall. She tuned out Mickey's complaining that they were going to be stuck in the 51st Century for the rest of their lives. He yelled that they were never getting home, and that they were going to die on this blasted ship.

Rose supposed it wasn't as if they were left with nothing. The TARDIS, which must be hurting as much as she was, was still here. It would provide them shelter, comfort, provisions. But, it wouldn't be the same. She dreaded to think how the TARDIS'S humming would sound without the Doctor. At that moment, Rose cared more about the TARDIS than herself and Mickey She cared that the TARDIS, his oldest companion, was without him.

At least the Doctor wasn't somewhere he wouldn't enjoy himself. He was in France, and according to him, they knew how to party. Not only was he in France, but he was with Reinette. He would be spending a majority of his time with a woman he clearly loved.

She still didn't understand how he allowed himself to fall so easily for her. Not hours before he practically told Rose that he couldn't love her because she would age, decay, and wither while he wouldn't. How was this any different? Reinette was still a human, and she was still an inevitable loss. He was setting himself up for hurt again. But, then again, Rose thought, it would be better to be happy for a short time before the pain came.

It hurt, though, that he couldn't spend the time they had loving her. He would do that with Reinette, but he wouldn't do that with her.

She closed her eyes for a brief second, more tears flowing freely down her face.

"Doctor," she whispered. "Please…"

As the hours ticked away, Rose felt her hope dwindling. She understood how Sarah Jane felt when she waited for the Doctor all those years ago.

"How long has it been?" Rose asked Mickey; these were the first words she had muttered to him since the Doctor left.

"Five hours," he replied bitterly. "Five flipping hours, that's how long."

Five hours… For a split second, she considered going into the TARDIS and quitting. He wasn't coming back; she was fooling herself. But… she couldn't give up on him now. She would wait 3,000 years for that man, that mad, impossible mad that had her heart forever and always.

Neither Rose nor Mickey said anything after that, drifting off into another deep silence.

She counted the seconds, every second-what else did she have to do-until something broke her concentration when she reached 1,800 seconds, thirty minutes.

"Rose! Mickey!" That was unmistakably his voice.

Her heart pounded as she heard rapid footsteps approach, and he came around the corner. There was a big grin on his face, and Rose matched it. He enveloped her in a tight embrace; she eagerly returned it. "How long did you wait?" He asked.

"Five and a half hours!" She let out a teary laugh. Oh, he was back! Her Doctor… She wanted to hold onto him forever, bury her head into his neck, and let him know she how much she loved him.

But… he pulled away. "Good, always wait five and a half hours!" He shook hands with Mickey before tearing off back to the direction of the fireplace. "Be right back! Reinette!" He called.

Rose felt her heart sink into her stomach; he was going back to her. And she knew why. He was going to get her and take her with them onto the TARDIS. Of course… he only came back here for the TARDIS, not her. And now that he was going to have Reinette with him, there was no point in her staying.

"Come on, Rose," Mickey said, patting her shoulder. "Let's go into the TARDIS and wait for him."

Rose stood still for a few moments before nodding. She followed Mickey, and they waited in the console room. The TARDIS's hum was light and cheery. Rose couldn't help but smile.

The Doctor returned about ten minutes later. There was no Reinette by his side. There was no grin upon his face. Rose immediately knew something was wrong.

He didn't look at them as he began to play around with the dials and knobs.

"Why her?" Rose finally asked. She wanted to know why the droids were after Madame De Pompadour, but as soon as the words left her lips, Rose realized she was also asking why he chosen Reinette over her.

He glanced up at her. "We may never know…" He replied softly. Perhaps, she would neverHe turned his attention away from Rose and back to the TARDIS console.

"You alright?" She asked. She was hurt by everything that had happened in the course of the day, but that didn't matter. She only cared about him at the moment.

"I'm always alright," was his reply. She knew it was a lie. She knew that Reinette must have died before he had arrived back in Versailles. She wanted to put her hand on his shoulder and take the pain away.

"Come on, Rose. You still need to give me a tour of this place," Mickey spoke up.

Rose nodded, using all her will to walk away from the Doctor and follow Mickey down the corridor.

They sat down in the library. She had no plans on giving a tour, and Mickey knew that. She pulled her knees to her chest and pressed her face against them, sobbing quietly. She hoped the Doctor would let her help him later, let her comfort him and take away his sorrow.

The End