She didn't just fall into this other man's arms like she imagines he had wanted her to.

In fact, it was fucking hard for her to accept this new Doctor into her life. After striding parallel to parallel, doing and seeing unthinkable things to get back to him...he leaves her. Just leaves her again on that damn beach.

She had been beside herself, actually. Furious that he had made her choice for her. That he couldn't say the words that she had waited years to hear. That he had left her when he had promised her that he wouldn't.

When they'd gotten back to her small flat she had screamed and raved and broken nearly all her meagre belongings. The Doctor, the one that she had been left, had tried to calm her. Tried to pull her into his arms and settle her down, but she had pushed him viciously away. Shouted cruel words like clone and fake, telling him he would never be as good as her Doctor. Each word had made him flinch, had filled those expressive eyes of his with such sadness and loneliness. Still, he had persisted in trying to comfort her and, finally, sick of him and his kindness, she had slammed and locked her bedroom door in his face and proceeded to break down into gut-wrenching sobs.

She closed off completely to this new Doctor. She went back to the routine she had built before she had found him, before she had began crossing the parallels for him, a sort of half life where she ate and worked and slept. She wouldn't touch him, look at him, acknowledge him because to do so was too painful. Too raw and aching. It made bile rise to her throat and tears sting her eyes. How long before he left her too? How could she ever look at him without being reminded of the one who had left her, the one she wasn't good enough for?

He began trying to prove to her that he was the Doctor. He would sit outside her bedroom door at night, back against the wood, and tell her stories. Sometimes it was stories of the times they had spent together. Sometimes it was new fantastical ones that she hadn't been apart of, ones from his past or from when they were separated.

He never edited, he told her things she could never imagine the other one (the proper Doctor as she secretly called him) telling her. He talked of Gallifrey and the things he had lost, like his granddaughter Susan. He talked of his past companions and of what each of them had meant to him.

And he talked of her. He never failed to weave her in and out of his stories. Always somehow mentioning her brilliance or how she made him better or how much he loved her. Her breath would still catch when the words would slip from his mouth. Always spoken unhesitatingly, if very quietly so that she had to stop breathing to catch the elusive words through the door.

As much as she still hurt, as much as she couldn't bear to look at him, she craved listening to these stories from him. From inside her room, where she didn't have to look at him, she could lie on her bed, close her eyes and listen to the sound of his voice. Pretend that he was her Doctor and not the fake she had been left with.

And he never pushed her. Never came into her room uninvited or made her talk in return. He would tell her how much he missed her though. How much he had missed her when she was gone and how much he missed her now. He would often get choked up, and then softly ask her if he could come in now, just to see her for a moment. To make sure she was really there, that they were really together.

But she was always silent. Couldn't bear to even speak to him in her grief. So, he would shift away from her door, quietly say those three words again, then head back to his room to sleep.

She, herself, would barely sleep, fearing to fall into nightmares. So, she could always here him when he called out in his own dreams. His cries were filled with names, some she recognized from the stories he told her and others she didn't. Most often then not though he called out her name.

The first couple of times, she had nearly flew out of her room to him, only to remember that he wasn't her Doctor. That her Doctor had left her.

Anger and grief ravaged her body. She couldn't accept him. Couldn't face him. She held too much anger now. She was too broken. How could the proper Doctor expect her to fix him, make this man better, when she could barely keep herself from falling apart?

Sometimes on those nightly visits outside her door, he would beg her to let him comfort her. To let him be there for her. To let them be there for each other. This was always when he was the most emotional. Choking back sobs as he told her that he missed it too. The Tardis and the travel and the stars. That he was sorry he couldn't take her to see new planets anymore, but if she would just let him, they could help each other. Maybe travel to new places on Earth. They could still run and be them. The Doctor and Rose Tyler.

"Because Rose," he would say, "I am the Doctor. I promise you, I am the Doctor."

He would paint out the life they could have together. All the traveling they could do, the places he would take her. They could still defend the Earth, fight aliens and save lives. He could maybe look around Torchwood and try to fix up a ship for them so they could get back out to the stars.

Then in a small voice he would admit to her his other desires. How they could get a house, a mortgage together. He would admit in a half joking voice how he wouldn't be opposed to more of the kissing. With burning cheeks, he would admit how much he had wanted her as a Time Lord and how it was near unbearable now, being human as he was. He would admit that he one day might want a family with her. Always finishing each sentence with a tentative "If you want."

Sometimes he would slide things under her door. A doodles or a drawing he had made. One drawing had been of them from New Earth, lounging on his coat in the apple grass. She hadn't known he could draw so well and the picture had brought tears to her eyes. Another time the picture was of just her, his loopy script winding around the page, saying things like Perfect Rose and I believe in her. Another time it was intricate circles covering the paper in what she recognized to be Gallifreyan script. That had been the first time she had spoke to him since they had been left on the beach.

"What does it say?" She'd asked her voice hoarse from grief and disuse. She'd moved to mirror his position, her back against the door. He had scrambled on the other side, pressing himself as close to the door as he could, as if he could melt right through it if he tried hard enough.

"It says Rose," he'd choked out after a moment. Then he had jammed his fingers partway under the door sill, just shy of her. She had hesitated and he'd begged her, "Please."

Lightly she'd placed her fingers over his, slowly stroking them. They looked and felt just the same as she remembered them. After a moment she had taken her touch away again, unable to bear the reminder. He'd sobbed in earnest then and asked her to "Please let me in, Rose. I can't take it anymore. Please."

Guilt had hit her then so strongly, so forcefully, for what she had been doing all along to this fragile, part human Doctor. This Doctor who had been there for her this whole time. Who had been so willing to share himself with her. Who had been strong for her, while she had been falling apart. This Doctor whose heart, singular, she had slowly broken.

She'd swung open the door so fast then that he had toppled inside her room, unbalanced from where he had been leaning against the door. Once he had pulled himself back up, she had got her first proper look at him. His face was damp with tears, his eyes bloodshot and accentuated with dark bags underneath. He was rumpled and messy in his blue suit and absolutely beautiful.

He'd looked at her like a starving man and she had gathered him in her arms and cried and cried her apologies into his suit while he'd clung to her so tightly that she knew she would have bruises the next day, but she had been so beyond caring.

Things had gotten easier after that.