Rose had just about seen everything. Spaceships, planets, aliens, stars, binary sunsets, three moons over a snowy cliffside, flowers that glowed like the stars they were named for, and she had seen such beauty, such unending, fantastic beauty, that she figured she had seen it all.
"Alright then," She'd said to the Doctor one day. "Nothing you can show me would surprise me now."
"Is that right?" The Doctor said with a challenging smile. After that, the game was on.
He would take her someplace new and shocking, trying to catch her by surprise with the places they ended up.
Sometimes, Rose was surprised, but she hid it well, and the Doctor, after awhile, began to believe that she was right, and nothing surprised her now.
But nothing she had ever seen could have prepared her for this moment.
Because when Rose walked into the TARDIS library to find the Doctor curled up on the floor in front of his usual brown recliner, blubbering uncontrollably and sniffling pathetically, she just about had a heart attack.
"Doctor!" She exclaimed, running over to him. "Doctor, what's wrong!?"
"Oh, Rose," The Doctor bawled. "Rose, it's nothing, r-really, I'm... I'm fine..."
"No you're not, you're cryin' like a baby," Rose said incredulously. Whatever was wrong with him, why would he lie and say he was fine? "Now tell me what's wrong! Did you get hurt?"
"Did I get hurt!?" The Doctor echoed back testily, glaring through his tears. "When do I ever get hurt!? No, it's not that..."
"Fine then," Rose said. "Go ahead and have a go at me, I'm only trying to help!"
"There's nothing you can do to help," The Doctor said miserably, dissolving back into tears. "It's all her fault, why would she do such a thing!? I just can't believe he's gone..."
"What?" Rose asked, more confused than ever. "Who's gone?"
"No one, it doesn't matter," the Doctor snapped angrily, before burying his head in his hands and sobbing. "It doesn't matter, because he wasn't real! But he was to me. He was so funny, so... so full of life... I know he's just ink and paper, but it didn't feel like it! And he was laughing. He was laughing, Rose!"
"Okay then," Rose said. "So he was laughing. Who was laughing? And why does it matter?"
"I- I can't t-tell you," the Doctor said, looking up at Rose. He took a deep, shuddering breath, and hiccupped a few times. "It's... it's from your immediate future... Spoil the timestream... spoil the wait... Oh..." He buried his face again and began sobbing loudly, and Rose just sat down next to him and rubbed his back.
"Hey," she said gently. "It's alright. You go ahead and let it out..."
Looking around, she spotted a rather heavy looking book lying open on the floor next to the recliner. It was hardcover, it was mostly pale green, and the binding was a pale yellow color, with red writing on the side.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Rose froze. "Doctor?" She said.
The Doctor sniffed, never looking up. "Mmm?" He finally asked.
"That's book seven then, yeah?" She asked.
"Huh?" The Doctor said, looking up at her with red puffy eyes and a wet face. He followed her gaze to the book on the floor, and jumped up.
"NOOOOO!" he yelled, standing between Rose and the book and spreading his arms out wide. "No, you can't read it, you have to wait for it in your own timestream!"
"What!?" Rose exclaimed. "Why?"
"It's too complicated," the Doctor said. "It's just... you have to wait for it to come out in your timestream."
Rose sighed dramatically. "Fine," she said. "But you already told me something."
"I did not!" The Doctor said.
"Yes you did," Rose said. "Someone dies, don't they?"
The Doctor pouted. "No," he said shakily.
"Ha!" Rose said with a laugh. "Who is it!?" She demanded. "Was it Harry? I bet he dies... Ooh! NO! Ginny! I never liked her, much. Still, though, it'd be a shame. Don't tell me it's Ron or Hermione. Come on, Doctor, who dies?"
The Doctor swallowed. "I'm not telling," he said.
"It's gotta be someone you really like," she said. "Otherwise, you wouldn't've been blubbering and carryin' on like you was. Who do you really like, Doctor?"
The Doctor was trying to hold back tears again. "No one," he said. "W-well... everyone. I like everyone..."
"Be more specific," Rose said. "It was probably someone really powerful, like... McGonagall! Or maybe... Lupin! Oh, I'll bet it was Lupin. You'd really like Lupin, wouldn't you?"
"No, it wasn't them," The Doctor said. "At least, not yet... I haven't finished it yet."
"Okay then," Rose said. "Was it one of the Weasleys? You like them, right? They're ginger."
When the Doctor responded by letting out a particularly shaky breath, she grinned.
"Yes!" She said triumphantly. "It's one of the Weasleys! Is it Ginny? Or maybe Ron? Ooh, or is it Percy? He's got it coming to him, he does."
The Doctor burst into sobs again, and Rose blinked. "It's Percy?" She asked in disbelief. "Really? You're crying over Percy?"
"NO!" The Doctor cried. "It's not Percy, it's Fred!"
Rose stopped breathing. "...What?" She said.
It's true," The Doctor sobbed. "J.K. Rowling killed Fred! I don't know why she would do that to me! To him! To George! How do you think he feels, how do you think they all feel? They lost him! He's gone, forever, he's dead!"
He stopped crying for a moment, and a look of rage came over him. "He's dead," he spat. "Dead, and there's nothing anyone can do about it! How could she do this to me!?"
Rose put her hand over her mouth. "But..." She whispered. "But, I always liked Fred!"
"Everyone liked Fred!" The Doctor wailed, collapsing back into a heap on the floor. He couldn't say any more, he just continued sobbing, as Rose, despite his warnings not to read, picked up the book and saw that it was at the beginning of a chapter.
The World had ended, so why had the battle not ceased, the castle fallen silent in horror, and every combatant laid down their arms?
Quickly scanning the next few lines, Rose flipped backwards to the previous page (really, that's what time-travel was to begin with) and read from what looked to be an alright place to start.
Harry, Ron and Hermione ran forward to help; Jets of light flew in every direction and the man dueling Percy (oh, so Percy had turned back to the good side, then?) backed off, fast: Then his hood slipped and they saw a high forehead and streaked hair -
"Hello, Minister," Bellowed Percy, sending a neat jinx straight at Thinkesse, (But wait, wasn't Scrimgeour the new minister of magic?) who dropped his wand and clawed at the front of his robes, apparently in awful discomfort. "Did I mention I'm resigning?"
"You're joking, Perce!" Shouted Fred as the Death Eater he was battling collapsed under the weight of three separate Stunning Spells. Thicknesse had fallen to the ground with tiny spikes erupting all over him; he seemed to be turning into some form of sea-urchin. (Okay, that was just gross...) Fred looked at Percy with glee.
"You actually are joking, Perce... I don't think I've heard you joke since you were-"
The air exploded. (Rose gasped.) They had been grouped together, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred, and Percy, the two Death Eaters at their feet, one Stunned, the other Transfigured, and in that fragmant of a moment, when danger seemed temporarily at bay, the world was rent apart.
("NO!" Rose gasped out.) Harry felt himself flying through the air, and all he could do was hold as tightly as possible to that thin stick of wood that was his one and only weapon, and shield his head in his arms: he heard the screams and yells of his companions without hope of knowing what had happened to them-
(But Rose knew, she'd practically begged for the spoiler. She was already starting to cry as she read, knowing what the next half a page contained.) And then the world resolved itself into pain and semidarkness: He was half buried in the wreckage of a corridor that had been subjected to a terrible attack. Cold air told him that the side of the castle had been blown away, and hot stickiness on his cheek told him that he was bleeding copiously. Then he heard a terrible cry ("No! Oh no, please, no,") that pulled at his insides, that expressed agony of a kind neither flame nor curse could cause, and he stood up, swaying, more frightened than he had been that day, more frightened, perhaps, than he had been in his life...
And Hermione was struggling to her feet in the wreckage, and three red-headed (Ginger!) men were grouped on the ground where the wall had blasted apart. Harry grabbed Hermione's hand as they staggered and stumbled over stone and wood.
"No - No - no!" Someone was shouting. "No! Fred! No!"
And Percy was shaking his brother, and Ron was kneeling beside them, and Fred's eyes stared without seeing, the ghost of his last laugh still etched upon his face.
And Rose was crying, holding the book, she turned the page and began the next chapter anew, when she felt the book being pulled gently from her grasp.
"You shouldn't," The Doctor said quietly, looking into her face apologetically. "You really shouldn't..."
"But..." Rose said. "But Fred..."
"I know," The Doctor said, nodding, as the tears came back. "I know... Oh, Fred..."
Dropping the book, he pulled Rose into a hug, and they cried into each others shoulders for several long moments.
"Don't ever do that to me," The Doctor whispered.
"No worries," Rose cried back. "I'm not ever going to leave you, not even to death."
"Oh, Rose..." The Doctor sniffed. "And Hedwig dies too."
"What!?" Rose demanded, pulling out of the hug. "No!"
"Yes, she does, really!" The Doctor whimpered. "It's... it's such a sad book! I don't know what I'm going to do... I need... I need some hot chocolate!"
"Alright," Rose agreed, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. "Yeah... Yeah, I think that would be good."
"Okay..." The Doctor said with a steadying sniff.
He and Rose looked into each others eyes for a moment, and then -
They both started sobbing again and fell back to the floor, crying their eyes out, over ink and paper, because really, who's to say that a created character cannot feel as deeply as a true one? After all, every character in every story has a life of their own, and even if that life is poured into them by the one with the pen or the typewriter, each character is a reflection of the author behind it. A character might not feel on his own, but if the writer feels it, so do you.