A/N: This originally had an entirely different plot and an entirely different ending. I hope you enjoy what my muse decided to give me instead. Forewarning- tissues may be necessary. I do not own Doctor Who.
Summary: The sheer absurdity of Rose Tyler dragging him through the TARDIS to his kitchen to make him tea has put a deadlock on his entire vocabulary. He can practically hear the neurons in his head short circuiting and she shoves him into a chair and puts the kettle on. Between TATM and The Snowmen. Hints of 10,11/Rose. ONESHOT.
Still Cream, Two Sugars?
There is a reason that he has always travelled with companions. All of space and time and whirring around in that bigger-on-the-inside box, and it's just so boring when there is no one there to share it with. It's the reason that he kept going back for the Ponds, but now that they're gone, for good this time, he remembers just how much death and heartbreak hurt.
He has the entire cosmos waiting for him, and he cannot bring himself to move from the spot on the console for where River left him. He does not want to go anywhere else, because he no longer has someone to share the stars with. And he does not want to bring anyone else along because...
He could die here. He could just give up and focus on making both of his hearts stop at the same time, or he could go down to the Pond's bathroom and grab that little bottle of aspirin that Amy always kept, on the second shelf, in a bright orange bottle, or he could-
"Hello? Oh wow, look at you, old girl- changin' it up a bit. I like it!"
He nearly whacks his head on the control panel in his hurry to stand up. He tries to dash away his tears with his hand, but knows that his eyes will be a dead give away to anyone who sees him. He has questions to ask of this stranger who's appeared in his control room-In the Vortex, how did they even get here?- when he turns around and freezes. Her appearance alone knocks the wind out of his lungs.
Rose Tyler is standing in his console room.
She still looks about the same, but older now- just a bit. Her hair looks less bleached and more natural, and she's not wearing quite as much make up. Her clothes are more conservative and mature, too- jeans and a long sleeve shirt- but her smile and her eyes are exactly as he remembers.
He opens his mouth to speak, but finds he has no voice. She just gives him that tongue between her teeth grin that made his 10th self melt, and continues.
"An' look at you! Changin' it up again too! Still skinny, an' look at that chin! An' you haven't said nothin' yet, so still rude, then. Rude an' not ginger- that's you. I go through all the trouble of interdimmensional travel, an' I'm still the one who has to make tea. Still cream, two sugars?"
He nods mutely instead of answering, because the sheer absurdity of Rose Tyler dragging him through the TARDIS to his kitchen to make him tea has put a deadlock on his entire vocabulary. He can practically hear the neurons in his head short circuiting and she shoves him into a chair and puts the kettle on.
"Still not keepin' much in the way of food 'round here. If I was gonna be here for longer I'd force you to stop at a chippy at least."
He gets his words back for that, "You're not staying?"
She grins, "Ah, so you ain't a mute then. Good- was gettin' word that this regeneration came without a tongue. Nah, can't stay. Things to do, people to save- for both of us you know? Just poppin' in for a visit."
She hands him his cup of tea and sits down across from him. "How long has it been for you? And where's Handy?" he blurts out, and then immediately curses this form's lack of eloquence.
"You first," she responds, firmly. "It wasn't my pain that could be felt across each galaxy and six dimensions. How long's it been, and who'd you lose?"
"It's been about three hundred years, give or take," It's actually been three hundred and forty six years, three months and eleven days since he left her on that beach with Handy, but he is not about to tell her that he's been keeping track. "And I just lost my companions. The Ponds. Amy and Rory. The Girl Who Waited and the Last Centurion."
And then he begins to talk. Why, he isn't sure, but he feels the need to tell her about them- his precious Ponds. He talks for hours about the good and the bad and she just smiles and listens. And as he talks and relives those stories (because we're all just stories, in the end) he can practically hear Amelia laugh and see Rory roll his eyes. Suddenly, he isn't in the TARDIS anymore- he is anywhere and everywhere with his Ponds. And the stars begin to dance for him again as he realizes that they haven't gone anywhere at all.
When he finally stops, six hours and forty two minutes later, Rose is still sitting there, smiling at him. She stands and clears up the cups and gives him her arm. When he stands, he shocked to realize just how exhausted he is, and he leans against her arm as she walks him to his room. He kicks off his shoes and removes his bow tie and jacket, and she pulls the covers over him, as he lays down to sleep. Suddenly, he realizes that she never answered his questions from earlier.
"So, you then. You can't be older than 30. And what about Handy then? Where's he?"
She smoothes the hair from his face and smiles at him sadly. It's then that he notices that her hand is light, almost translucent.
"I'm twenty-eight," She replies, softly. "An' I expect I'll be that way for some time yet. Go to sleep, Doctor. I'll be here... when you wake up."
When he finally opens his eyes, he realizes that he is not, in fact, in his own room. Instead, he is lying in bed, in a pink and yellow room, covered in pink and yellow memories for his pink and yellow girl. He kicks off the covers and reaches for his bow tie on the night stand, and nearly knocks over the glass of water that's been left there. On it, there is a Post-It, writing in green that says Come to the control room in slanted cursive. He races from the room, neglecting his shoes and his coat. He bursts in the console room with one word on his lips, "Rose!"
And there is no one there. The room is empty.
He walks to his seat slowly, and sits down on the bench. He glances up and notices another Post It taped to the monitor. This one says: Ask the TARDIS to give you all files about me.
He swallows hard and whispers, "TARDIS, access all files on Rose Tyler." The first one that pops up is a newspaper article from Pete's world.
It says nothing but wonderful things, about his wonderful, magnificent, impossible girl. At the end, they call her Rose Tyler, Defender of the Earth, the Stuff of Legends. She was twenty-eight.
"But...then...how?" he murmurs, pressing his fingers to her picture on the screen.
"Well," says a voice behind him. "I am the Bad Wolf. I absorbed the heart of the TARDIS."
He turns, but no one is there.
"You need to know this, Doctor, you really do. It's never been more important," her voice is but a whisper, floating through the air around him. It gives him strength and helps him breath.
"You may have lost someone dear to you, but we are all lost to time. Even you, Doctor. Eventually."
Suddenly her image is in front of him, and it is all he can do to keep from weeping. He reaches for her, but his hands flow through her image and he falls to his knees.
"You have to know that we are still with you. That we are always with you. We are your stories to tell, and in your hearts we are still there with you, holding your hand. We are with you on every adventure, and we will carry you when you fall, help fix you when you break. Because we are the not the children of time, Doctor- we are the children of the stars... and it was you who helped to bring us there."
She smiles at him again, as her image fades away, "Know this, my Doctor- that we love you. Always. And you may live for thousands of year yet- but you will take our stories with you. Make it the Stuff of Legends."
And then she is gone.
And he right back where he started-sobbing on the floor of the TARDIS console room, drifting aimlessly through the Vortex. But this time, he knows what he needs to do.
He chooses 19th century London because it isn't Cardiff, but it is the same time period in which he realized that he was hopelessly in love with her. And he parks his TARDIS above the clouds, so that he can still see the stars as they shine for him each night. He isn't ready yet, but he will be- he just needs to be patient.
Until then, the children of the stars will upon him as he rests.
A/N: Please R/R!