Title: Journey's End – An Alternate Ending

Rating: T

Pairing(s): 10th Doctor/Rose

Warnings: Canon Divergence

Disclaimer: Don't own 'em - not making any money off 'em. Dern it.

Summary: What if the Meta-Crisis doctor was never made?

Word Count: 882

Notes: I never actually saw this episode, but through spoilers, I know the gist of it. Sorry for any inconsistencies.

For Writerverse Challenge: "Imagine if your character had never been born. How would it affect your universe? Write a scene that would be drastically different if your character had never been there."

Feedback: Yes

Somehow the Doctor does it and the Daleks are defeated. Rose's heart thumps when she sees him. He's alive and not regenerated. Rose knows she'd love the next Doctor as well; her love is transcending. She loved her first doctor as well as her second, but she's glad for the familiar face.

Rose wonders what's going to happen. She worked so hard to get here, to get back to the man – er, alien – that she loved. Is it all for naught?

He never once said the words, not even at Bad Wolf Bay, but Rose had felt the emotions. After all, he burned up a sun to say goodbye to her. That has to mean something, right?

Maybe he would have said the words if the connection didn't cut out so early. Rose hopes at least. Even if he once loved her, does he still love her? Maybe the Doctor moved on, like he's been forced to with all of his companions? Maybe she has been reassigned to simply fond memories? Maybe there's no longer a place for her in the TARDIS. He does have Donna now.

Rose waits with bated breath as the Doctor approaches her. She doesn't say anything, but her eyes do go to Donna who wears a happy smile. Rose wonders if the smile's a good or bad thing for her.

"Rose," he murmurs.

Rose shivers at his tone. "I'm not going back to that universe," she says firmly. Even if there's no longer a place with the Doctor for her, she knows she won't go back there. She clarifies, "It was never home for me."

The Doctor's eyes seem to soften.

"I don't care if you don't want me around anymore. This universe is my home, with or without you. I'm sure Jack wouldn't mind my company. I could help out at Torchwood; I definitely have the experience."

The Doctor growls – yes – actually growls. "You will not go anywhere with Jack Harkness."

Rose's eyebrows rise.

Donna giggles. "Stop being so jealous, Doctor. It's not very becoming."

Rose kind of likes Donna. She really knows how to keep the Doctor in his place, and it's something he needs. She waits for the Doctor's reaction. Of course she wants to stay with the Doctor – he'll always be her first choice – but she could be content staying with Jack as well. Jack is her best friend, and she knows he'll do everything he can to protect her. He's family.

Rose swallows and wishes the Doctor would speak. Her wish is granted after what seems like forever. "Rose, I will always want you around. That will never change. I've missed you so much and –"

Rose doesn't let him finish as she lunges. He catches her and holds her close. The way he cradles her makes her feel precious. Tears stream down her cheeks. She never thought she'd have this again, but she's not done yet. She lightly pushes herself away from the Doctor even though she doesn't want. She wants to stay in his arms, stay protected. She steps away so they aren't touching. No touching means less temptation, no matter how much her body aches for the exact opposite.

"Before anything goes forward, answer me this. When I last stood at Bad Wolf Bay on the worst day of my life, what was the last thing you said to me? Go on, say it!"

"I said "Rose Tyler."

Rose nodded, but she isn't letting him off the hook that easily. "Yeah and how was that sentence gonna end?"

It's the moment of truth. Whether he answers her truthfully will decide if she goes in the TARDIS or with Jack.

The Doctor hesitates, and Rose waits to have her heart broken. "I love you," he whispers.

"What was that?" Rose wants to make sure that she didn't hallucinate that.

The Doctor speaks up louder, with more force, more certainty behind it. "I love you."

Rose's smile is so wide her cheeks ache. This time when she jumps into the Doctor's arms, she also presses a kiss to his lips.

He returns it with equal fervor. There's clapping which brings them out of their own world. Both of them look around. Donna is mixing it up between claps and whistles, making the Doctor blush.

Rose sees Jack clapping frantically like an idiot while Ianto watches him, a fond look on his face. She needs to ask Ianto about his relationship with Jack.

Jackie claps as well, but there's sadness in her eyes. Rose knows her mom is aware of that fact that she's not coming back, and although Jackie hates it, Rose knows she won't stand in her way. If anyone knows unhappy Rose has been, it's Jackie.

Rose knows it won't be easy. Although she likes Donna well enough and knows there's nothing between them but friendship, she will have to learn how to share the Doctor and the TARDIS with his current companion. Rose will work on controlling her jealousy, though. Donna is no threat to her relationship with the Doctor. Who knows? Maybe Rose will learn to cherish Donna in the same way the Doctor does.

None of that matters, though. Rose is finally happy. She has her doctor back and that's the only thing she cares about.