I still haven't found him. I've been searching for months now. Shouldn't I have gotten home already?
Dimension jumping is difficult and depressing, especially when I'm not in the universe I want to be in. You never know where you're going to end up. I've seen so many alternate universes – so many different ways things could've happened. I've met different versions of myself, even. Ones that don't even know who the Doctor is and ones who were lucky enough to spend the rest of their lives with him.
"You ready, Rose?" Mickey asks, drawing me from my train of thought.
"Yeah," I sigh. I hold out my hand and he hands me the big yellow button on a chain that sends me to another universe (the dimension cannon). I've really started to hate that button. It's like having a key to every door in the world except the one you need to get through.
With one last glance around the room at the Torchwood team, I slammed down on the button and was off.
Going through dimensions is not what you might think. Most rumors say that it feels like being squeezed through a tube. It's nothing like that. The only similarity is that both are very painful. It feels as though you are being ripped apart into pieces and put back together.
So after that lovely experience, I landed with a thud in a dark alley way. I checked my dimension cannon for coordinates, getting prepared for the disappointment that usually came. However, I gasped when I realized I was in my universe. I had finally made it.
Based on the dim-lit sky, it looked around twilight. It was dark, except for a small light coming from a 1950's police box. I started walking out of the alleyway, in search of the Doctor and the TARD-wait. My eyes widened as I turned back around to the sight of the TARDIS.
Without a second thought, I raced toward my home. With my key in my hand, I reached to the TARDIS door and went to open it. I struggled for a moment from my hands shaking with adrenaline, but soon managed to open the door and race in.
"DOCTOR?!" I yelled happily as I ran to the console. I was still in shock. I finally reached the right universe, and within a few moments, had found the TARDIS.
I began to hear heavy footsteps that got louder and louder as the seconds ticked by. In a blink, the Doctor was in front of me.
But it wasn't the right Doctor.
"What is it?" he asks, alarmed. "What's wrong? Are you okay?"
I stare at him for a few moments taking it all in.
Leather jacket, blue eyes, Northern accent…
It's the Doctor's turn to look confused.
"You screamed for me. Are you okay?"
"Oh…I'm fine," I reply. "I think."
"Why are you back so soon? Where's Jack?"he asks. Then he pauses. "Is that a new jacket?"
I look down at my blue leather jacket that I've worn nearly every dimension jump I've been on. Maybe it's the jacket, its bad luck.
"Rose, you're acting weird," he tells me.
"I…I'm gonna just…get back to Jack, he's probably waiting for me…" I stutter.
"You're from the future," he says, nodding.
"You're not supposed to know that. I need to leave."
"Wait! Why are you here? How are you here? I would never bring you somewhere we've already been before, especially not at the same time. Which means you're on your own. Where am I?" he demands.
"I can't tell you that…" I start to protest.
"Rose," he says shortly, cutting me off.
"I don't know. I don't know where you are. That's the problem."
"How far into the future are you?"
"About three years."
"Really?" he asks, slightly surprised. "You stayed that long?"
"I promised you forever. I meant it."
"You never said…"
"If you didn't leave willingly, then we were separated by something. But I wouldn't have stopped until I found you, so what's the deal?"
I don't reply to him, because I don't know how. I don't want to cause a paradox by giving him too much information that he shouldn't have.
And how do you tell the man you love that you can never see each other again?
"It wasn't possible," I tell him after a moment.
"What wasn't possible?"
"Finding me. Getting back to me."
"You're here, aren't you?" he points out. I smile.
"Well, I always did say I was smarter than you, didn't I?"I joke weakly.
"Why?" he asks. "Why couldn't I get back to you? Where could you possibly be that I couldn't reach you?"
"I can't…" I start, but he cuts me off.
"Just tell me, Rose. I promise, I'll make myself forget."
"You can do that?"
"Time Lord stuff," he grins. Then he grows more serious, walking up close to me and taking my hands in his. "Now. Where did you come from?"
"A parallel universe," I answer quietly.
"A parallel universe?" he repeats. I nod.
"It's a bit...complicated. There was an issue with some Daleks and Cybermen and Torchwood and the Void…"
"Dalek? Cybermen?" he says, raising his voice slightly. I can see the anger thundering in his eyes.
"They're gone now. They're trapped in the Void," I reassure him. "I nearly was, too. But Dad saved me…"
"Okay," he stops me. "You need to start from the beginning."
So he leads me to the captain's chair, and I sit next to him. He puts his arm around me and I breathe in the scent of him – this regeneration – the one that I missed so much. And I tell him the story of how I died.
Everything just came flooding out – all the built up emotions I've been hiding over the last few months, my anger, my sadness, my fear. The Doctor holds my hand and listens through all of it. But it gets difficult to talk about when I get to the part about our goodbye.
"You came to say goodbye," I sigh. "Not physically – just a projection, an image. No touch. You burned up a supernova for the energy, sent it through one tiny crack that was left, just about to heal. Still, we only had about three minutes." I pause. "I told you about my new job at parallel Torchwood, and that Mum was having a baby. You told me about how I was officially declared dead back home." I took a deep breath.
"Then what?" the Doctor asks softly, nudging me with his elbow.
"I told you that I love you," I say, looking him in the eye.
"Do you really not know?" I ask. "I always have. Since the very beginning."
"And you know…?"
"Yes." You love me, too.
"Did I say it?"
"We ran out of time," I say, looking away quickly. There's a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, but I refuse to let them fall. I stare at my shoes, and the buttons, levers, and switches on the console – anything but his face.
"You were there, with your family. Your Mum, and Dad, and Mickey, and everything you could've ever wanted, but you wanted to come back to me?"
"I didn't have everything I wanted. I didn't have you," I say, my voice cracking. A tear escapes my eye.
"Don't cry, Rose," he murmurs, wiping it away. "Don't cry."
I bury my face in his jacket and he wraps his arms around me. I let myself cry for the first time in months.
"Come on," he says, once I've calmed down. "I'm taking you home."
"No! Don't take me back there; I don't want to go back there! I've spent such a long time fighting to get back to this universe, don't you dare send me back!"
"I'm not taking you there," he says softly. "I'm taking you to me. In the future. What year would it be? I can locate the TARDIS, and latch on to the coordinates."
He grins at me, and I can't help but grin back. I throw my arms around his neck.
"Thank you," I whisper in his ear.
I stare at the door. It still hasn't quite sunk in. The Doctor is outside. I'm going to see him again.
"Well, go on then," the Doctor urges behind me, pushing me forward slightly. I turn around to look at him, my face set.
My hand meets his face and snaps his head sideways.
"That is for not telling me about regeneration, you stupid Time Lord!"
Immediately afterward, before he even has time to react, I grab him by the shoulders and pull his lips down to mine. His arms come around my waist as he kisses me back.
"I miss you," I tell him, slightly out of breath when I pull back.
"I'm still there," he says. "Just look a bit different. Tell me – am I ginger?"
"You'll just have to wait to find out, won't you?" I tease, stepping out the doors of the TARDIS with one last wave goodbye.
I watch the TARDIS dematerialize. Then I turn around and stare at the one in front of me. I walk up to it slowly, smiling softly with my hand on the door. I'm reaching for my key when I hear a voice.
"Rose?" comes the Doctor's voice, hopeful and confused and incredibly happy all at once. I turn around, grinning. His hair is still sticking up in a million different directions, and he still wears his brown pinstriped suit that I missed so much. He's got on his jacket that Janis Joplin gave him, too, with the never ending pockets.
"Doctor," I breathe. He runs up to me, hugging me close to him, picking me up off my feet and spinning me in a circle.
"I love you," he laughs. "Rose Tyler, I love you."
He puts me down and I pull back to look in his eyes before grabbing him by the tie and pulling his face down to mine. My other hand runs through his hair.
"Oi, Spaceman! Explain!"
The Doctor pulls away abruptly, looking slightly ruffled and flushed. He turns to look at a redheaded woman I can see over his shoulder.
"Donna," he says proudly. "I'd like you to meet Rose Tyler, Defender of the Earth."