I was having major Ten/Rose feels today, and this is the product. And just so you know, I'm now taking requests, but I have rights to veto if it's something I'm uncomfortable with.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, obviously.
I hope you enjoy, and please review!
Caught in the Crossfire
[I'm caught in the crossfire of my own thoughts, the color of my blood is all I see on the rocks as you sail from me. -Ellie Goulding]
In twelve hundred years of time and space, it is impossible to keep from crossing one's own timeline. And in eleven lives, the Doctor cannot believe how few times it has actually happened. After meeting himself, he forgets the encounter until all of his lives present right then have experienced it. He could count on one hand the number of times he'd had such an encounter (not including each individual life through which he experienced it).
His memory will never be good enough. He will remember every face he had, every person who traveled with him, every villain he has stopped. Not every face he's ever met is etched into his memory (take Lorna Bucket for example), but he has never regretted meeting anybody.
Running into ghosts is never a pleasant experience.
So when he takes Clara to a bazaar on Tibius, having forgotten of who he'd taken there before, and sees Rose Tyler standing several booths away, the Doctor does what he does best. He runs.
Clara tags along, more being dragged behind him by his firm grip on her hand than actually running, but they aren't fortunate enough to make it back to the TARDIS. Well, to their TARDIS. A slightly more jovial sound tinkles in his ears when he runs his hand on the blue wood of a younger police box. He should have recognized it before running straight up to it.
"It's not for sale," a voice says from behind. Clara is the first to turn around and look at the source of the voice, quickly followed by the Doctor. When the two men look at each other face to face, everything makes sense, from the extra noise in his mind to the appearance of Rose Tyler.
The Eleventh Doctor remembers this suddenly. Well, remembers this having happened, doesn't remember what actually happened, happens, will happen. (Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey.)
They look each other over, and the Doctor becomes very self-conscious about his bow tie. It's cool. The Tenth Doctor sighs, and grimaces when he looks on his future neckwear. "Don't tell me I wear that."
He grins and straightens it. "Yes, I wear a bow tie now. Bow ties are cool. And boots are more sensible than Chucks."
Not exactly true, but any kind of conversation is better than the inevitable. It seems like the younger Doctor wants to cut to the chase. He always was rude, after all. "Where is she?" He doesn't need to say her name for the other Doctor to know who he's talking about.
"Gone." Any more details would reveal too much and could change everything.
"Is she happy?"
"I assume so." Rose Tyler always would be a difficult spot of conversation, no matter how many centuries passed. Especially when River Song, the Doctor's wife, was the one asking the questions. She always had a distinct interest in the Doctor's romantic exploits, seeking details of inappropriate dinner topics. Thank God she'd had the common sense to not bring those things up while eating with her parents. (The Eleventh Doctor's hearts twinge upon thinking of the Ponds.)
The Tenth Doctor shuffles his feet and tries not to look too upset, standing hunched over with his hands in his pockets. He doesn't want to admit to the feelings he harbors for Rose, doesn't want to tell himself that she means a great deal more to him than anyone else he's ever met. He flips through the other voice in his mind, trying not to alert the future version of himself that he's looking.
It doesn't work. Titanium walls shoot up, and the Doctor looks crossly at his younger self. "I'm better than that."
He shrugs. "It was worth a shot." But he has learned something; this future version of himself is not alone in the universe. No, he has bonded. And not with Rose Tyler. Anger flares up inside the Doctor. How could he ever fall in love with anyone other than Rose? "You've shared our name."
Eleven looks sheepish, averting his eyes over to Clara, who has unknowingly approached the same booth as Rose. If they start speaking to one another, the Doctor doesn't know what he will do. "You'll understand when you're older."
That anger shows on Ten's face. "How dare-" (he lowers his voice so not to draw unnecessary attention) "How dare you bond with someone?"
"She's different," he answers, feeling sick for his lame answer. No, River was not Rose, and could never replace Rose in his hearts, but she had her own version of him. Her own happily ever after. He had to move on eventually, and it wasn't like he had a choice in the matter. It was marry River and die, or not marry River and destroy the universe.
Not sharing the truth hurts, but there's no other way. The Tenth Doctor looks like he's going to keep arguing, but notices Eleven's eyes fixated on a point behind him. He turns, and sees Rose speaking with the girl who was with his future self. They were smiling and pointing at different things on the table.
"Have you visited the impossible planet yet?" asks the Eleventh Doctor.
Looking like he will be sick, Ten nods. "And we've been to the London Olympics in 2012. We just made a quick stop here before heading back to visit Jackie."
Eleven tries to keep his face passive, knowing what the future will hold for his past. He still has nightmares about the Battle of Canary Wharf, and that transmission at Bad Wolf Bay.
Rose and Clara bound up to the men, unaware of them being two versions of the same man. Smiling, Rose takes her Doctor's hand. Clara leans against the TARDIS, still believing it is their blue box. "Makin' friends?" asks Rose, and the Eleventh Doctor could weep for hearing her voice. It has been so long. (Sometimes he thinks of tracking down a voice interface that will sound like her, but it wouldn't be the same.) Before her Doctor is given a chance to answer, Rose sticks out her hand to Eleven. "'m Rose."
A broad smile stretches his face as Eleven takes her hand in both of his, pumping it up and down. It has been so long; this moment should never end. "It's a pleasure, Rose Tyler."
(She doesn't notice that he used her full name until much later, when she is standing on a beach in Norway for the second time, with a man who is not quite her Doctor.)
Eleven suddenly turns to Clara. "Can you go get my screwdriver? I left it on the console defibrillator." She nods and walks off. He guesses that he has a few minutes before Clara realizes that his screwdriver is actually in his pocket, and that he made up the defibrillator (though it isn't a bad idea to install one...).
Ten tells Rose, "Go get something for your mum. It'll put her in a good mood when we go over there."
"Good point," she says. "Don't want you gettin' slapped again."
Both Doctors wince, but she wanders off. Maybe her mum would like some of that bazoolium she saw earlier. Eleven looks after her for a long moment, but eventually returns his attention to the other Doctor. "You know you have to hide this trip, alter your memories."
"And hers, too."
"Let her keep the present for Jackie, but take the rest."
There is a long pause, but it is far from silent. The marketplace is too loud for that. "Does she die?"
It is with a bitter voice that the Doctor answers, "Spoilers." He waits before adding, "You know what you have to do."
The younger Doctor nods, and extends his hand. Eleven shakes it, then walks off. Just before stepping into his TARDIS-also mourning for this moment-he takes one last look at Rose Tyler, as the Doctor walks up to her and grabs her hand. It would hurt too much to watch the rest, so he closes the door behind him. Now that this has happened for him again, he has these memories back. They were good enough in person, they would have to be good enough forever.
Clara is leaning against the console with her lips pursed, an eyebrow raised, and arms crossed. "Who were they?"
"Old friends," the Doctor answers, throwing a lever to send them away.
In the marketplace, the Tenth Doctor pulls Rose off to the side before she can buy the gift for her mum. It will be easier to alter her memories if she does things chronologically.
Rose looks up at the Doctor curiously, wondering why he would pull her off to a corner when it appeared that nothing was wrong. And there is a sadness in his eyes that she can't explain. Her stomach flutters as he studies her face, his eyes flicking between hers.
"Rose," he says, his voice breaking. "You know, don't you?" He can't bear to say it. Not when he's just going to lose her.
Fortunately, she understands what he means. He never really has to say anything around her; she'll always understand. Rose nods. "'course I do."
Before he can change his mind, the Doctor raises his hands to her cheeks, ducks his head to lower his lips to hers. Rose's hands instinctively raise to his waist, to cover his hand on her cheek. The Doctor pulls away for a mere second, just to study her face, see her smile, before kissing her again.
Because he will never get this chance again, because he knows that something is coming very soon, the Doctor pulls Rose as close as he can. His arms wrap around her waist, holding her up against him, chest to chest. He thinks he might melt when her fingers trail up against his scalp, and wishes that this would never end.
Tears fall from his cheeks as he knows what must be done. His fingertips rise back to her temples, his mind reaching out to hers. She doesn't realize what he's doing until it's too late, isn't able to fight it quick enough. Once he has hidden her memories, he turns on himself, locking this moment away for another two hundred fifty years or so.
A bit dazed, the Doctor looks around. He must have zoned out while meandering the bazaar with Rose. She, too, looks a little confused. "Are you alright?" he asks her, reaching for her hand. His fingers tingle (and so do his lips, but he doesn't know why) when they lace through hers.
Rose nods once and looks up at him with wide eyes. "Yeah, just deja vu."
"Let's go find something for your mum," he says, leading her off. The Doctor shakes his head as if to clear it. Deja vu, indeed.
[With all the blood I lost with you, it drowns the love I thought I knew.]