A/N: Okay, I hadn't planned on doing an epilogue of any kind, actually I was kinda torn on it. Because I was quite content with how I ended it. But I wrote this anyway after I was finished, just for the hell of it, but I was undecided on posting it. But...well...I must have been less torn than I thought, because all it took was one review asking me to post an epilogue for me to post this. So you all have a "Guest" to thank for this Epilogue.
I'm fairly convinced I've ruined the ending by posting this. But ahh, whatever. Geronimo.
Their flat is quiet, the children are put to bed. Rose sits on the couch, a cup of tea in her hands. The Doctor is half asleep, splayed on his chair with his brainy specs hanging off one ear and an abandoned book open on his chest.
He starts awake when Rose speaks, his eyes snapping open. Rose's eyes are wide as she stares into the flickering flames in the fireplace.
"Whose—what?" the Doctor says as he jumps awake, sitting up. The book falls on the floor with a dull thud. Rose turns to look at him, and he blinks the sleepiness out of his eyes.
"I remember," Rose repeats. The Doctor's dark eyebrows draw together.
"You remember what?"
"It was you," she says, the memories flooding back. "All those times. How could I have forgotten?"
The Doctor clearly has no clue what she's on about, but he tries to be understanding and listen. He's getting better at doing that.
"How d'you mean? What was me?"
Rose blinks, focusing. She sets down her mug of tea as turns to the Doctor to try and explain, and remember.
"Well, it was you but it wasn't you. It was a different you. You saved me from Jimmy Stone. You helped me with my homework," suddenly she laughs. "And I kissed you! God, I didn't even remember! How could I forget that?"
"You did what?" says the Doctor, not quite keeping up. He's pretty sure he would have remembered had Rose kissed him. Blimey, he was getting slow. This human life was creeping up on him.
"I never knew who you were. John Smith, you called yourself! John Smith! Of course!" Rose laughs, and claps a hand to her forehead. "It was you!"
"What are you on about, Rose?"
"Don't you remember?" she says. Then she blinks, and shakes her head. "Of course not. How could you? It wasn't you. It was future you. You wore a bow tie. With a tweed jacket. How could I have not figured that out sooner? Who else would dress like that?"
"Oi!" says the Doctor indignantly. "I'll have you know, bow ties are cool."
"And when I was a little girl! That was you on the swing!"
Rose lets out a bark of laughter in her disbelief, and puts a hand to her forehead. The Doctor looks at her with that Last-of-the-Time-Lords look.
"Rose," says the Doctor finally. "I never went back into your past. I never went back and saw you as a little girl, I never saved you from Jimmy Stone, and we never kissed before—"
Rose looks at him in surprise. "Before what, Doctor?"
She still can't remember what happened on Satellite Five, her mind still protected from the Bad Wolf. He shakes his head.
"Never mind. Rose, I never went back in your timeline. And I never wore a bow tie and a tweed jacket in any of my incarnations. Well, I wore a bow tie back in Two…oh, blimey, I was an odd little man back then…"
Rose shook her head. "But no, it had to have been you! You said…you said you were a Doctor…and…and hold on…you mentioned it. You said," Rose struggles with her memory for a moment and the Doctor looks at her with a steady concern. "You said I'd forget, but that I'd remember one day. You said I'd understand."
The Doctor looks somewhat surprised. "Wow, well, that's very me. Enigmatic all over. Did I say anything else? Do you remember?"
"You said…" Rose struggles to remember, placing her fingers on her temple. The Doctor moves from his chair to sit beside her on the couch, and places a hand on her shoulder. "You said…oh…" Rose gasps, and covers her mouth with her hand. Suddenly there are tears in her eyes.
"Hey," he says, brushing her hair away from her face. "Hey, hey, shh, it's alright. What did I say?"
"You said you're sorry," says Rose. She sniffs, and a tear falls down her face. "And you said you miss me."
The Doctor is silent, for once. But Rose is not all that surprised. In his years as a human, he's gained a lot more compassion in his ability to understand humans. And he understands one human better than all the rest. He smiles softly, but his brown eyes suddenly become big, dark pools of infinite wisdom and sadness.
"And so I do," he says gently. Rose sniffs and looks up at him, confused. He tucks a stray strand of hair behind her ear. He cups her cheek in his hand. "He was me. He wasn't me from the past, though. He was me from the future. He's a future regeneration, and he misses you, Rose."
Rose closes her eyes, and makes to wipe away her tears, but the Doctor beats her to it. He wipes away her tears and kisses her on her forehead.
"He went back to see you. Back before you knew him."
"Because he loves you. Because he needs you."
Rose sniffs, and the Doctor pulls her into his arms. He knows, as she does, that there's no way back, and that they're happy, and she won't try to get back. So he's not worried that she'll leave him. He knows what this means to her, though, so he comforts her as best he can. He's the Doctor, after all. He makes people better.
"How could I have left him?"
"You didn't," whispers the Doctor into her hair. "You never did. He knows you're here with me, and that's enough for him. He knows you're happy, and that's all he needs."
"But if he misses me—"
"Of course he misses you, Rose. He loves you so much. He'll always need you. But you have to understand that he can still survive. I'm not saying it's easy for him. No, not at all. It's the hardest thing, to leave you behind. But he can run. He can live."
"But he…he looked so sad. Oh, no. He's alone, isn't he? He's alone and sad and…oh, god he'll do something stupid…"
The Doctor smiles, then, and he grins at Rose.
"Oh, don't worry. Some bird will smile at him. Something impossible will come along and he'll come down off his cloud to solve a mystery. He may be alone right now, but he's never really alone for long."
"So he'll be okay?" asked Rose.
"He'll always be okay," said the Doctor, with a reassuring smile. And Rose looked satisfied with his answer.
And with that, the Doctor took Rose's hand, and gave her a gentle kiss, smiling at her. She smiled in return, and they both sat on the couch in front of the fire, happy and content with their ordinary human lives, and their message from the Doctor.
Because, though there was never enough time for the Doctor and Rose, they had all the time in the world.
The Doctor pulled his Rose Tyler close, and buried his nose in her hair, gave her a gentle kiss. She smiled, and snuggled into her Doctor's chest.
"Just remember, Rose Tyler, I love you."
And as the human Doctor and Rose Tyler were enjoying their ordinary human lives; a universe away, some bird did smile at the Doctor. He did come off his cloud, to solve an impossible mystery in the form of an impossible girl.