The andromeda galaxy seems as cold as space itself. The star Vega might as well be a light bulb. A black hole? All that does is make him remember her. Rose. The “Valiant Child,” the Bad Wolf, a woman who had once reordered all of space and time to get back to him. To save him.
The memories only make the pain worse.
He always returns to Earth in the end. Cosmic beauty and the infinite incredible sights of the universe are only truly beautiful the first time. Or when you have someone with you who can still be in awe.
He doesn’t think he’ll ever be in awe of anything again. Not with his hearts torn apart in agony. His every breath longs to speak her name, his hands clutch at nothing – searching for hers. His body longs for her hug, her touch. His mind races over scenerios a thousand times a day – ways he could see her again for just a moment. Those scenerios only ever end with universes imploding.
What does it say about his sanity that he considers them anyway?
All the timelines, twisting and twirling and stretching and shaping – and not even one ended in them together. He could see it – he could always see it.
“Never say never ever,” he mutters to him self with a dry laugh that’s almost a cough. The laugh of a dying man, watching his life’s blood pour out into the sands of time.
It would be so very easy to take that one step farther. To just imagine his hearts slowing until they stop. To watch himself bleed out in his mind’s eye, knowing that with the powerful brain of a Time Lord, he could simply make it happen. He could choose to die. He could choose not to regenerate. He could end it all. This lonely, miserable, pointless existance. As if his life was worth living without her.
He’s crying. He isn’t sure when that started. The agony within has boiled to the surface and now the tears won’t stop. They cut hot tracks down his cool cheeks and he feels his hearts involuntarially speed up to their normal rhythm again. His ship hums worriedly – she feels his pain, and she doesn’t like it. With her infinity of ancient knowledge, there is nothing she can do to aid her Time Lord. There isn’t much that can be done for a man who’s very will to live has been ripped from him.
Without thinking, he sets the TARDIS in motion through the vortex. Time Lords stopped believing in gods millenia ago – as Rassilon would’ve said, they stopped believing when they became greater than that in which they believed. But he wasn’t greater than that in which he believed – because he believes in her. And so he prays, his voice thick with pain.
“Oh, Rose… I miss you. I never even… Blimey, I usually can’t shut up. Why is it when I NEED to talk, I can’t?” He’s on his feet now, walking around the console. “I should’ve told you… Oh, Rose. Rose Tyler… I’m the Doctor. I’ve lived and loved and lost more than any human could understand.. But you did.”
The TARDIS lands, and he heads for the door. In an odd way, it feels good to be talking to her, and in his pain, anything good is something to hold on to. “I always end up back on Earth, you know. Always. Been more of a home to me than Gallifrey for centuries.”
Just outside, he sits down in the cool grass, the night air carrying the scents and muffled sound of distant London. His hand plays with the grass beside him, searching for his hand to hold. He sighs and stares up at the night sky. The stars twinkle, dimmed by the nearby city lights, and he tosses a handful of grass onto the wind, watching it drift on the night breeze. Scattered. “Oh, Rose…”
A single airplane is making it’s way toward Heathrow, and for some reason, his eyes lock in on that tiny-in-perspective moving light. The ache through his entire body redoubles as he imagines he can almost feel Rose sitting with him, leaning back against his chest. “Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars?” He closes his eyes, losing himself in his fantasy, even knowing the pain that it will cause when he opens them to her absence. His arm circles her invisible waist and he tilts his head to bury his nose in her hair, inhaling deep of her scent memory. “Because… I could really use a wish right now.”
He must be losing it. A golden light glows behind his eyes for a moment, and he swears he hears Rose’s voice whisper, “Wish granted, my Doctor.”
His eyes snap open in shock, the spell broken, and he almost falls down the hill when she isn’t there in his arms. He fooled himself… stupid fool Time Lord! Of course she isn’t… His thoughts trail off at a sound coming from the TARDIS up the hill. He pushes himself up and jogs back to the ship, forcing himself to push aside his agony for a moment, covering it with a blanket of curiosity where it can remain hidden. He enters the ship to find some strange readings on the monitor. The TARDIS has picked up something strange, localized specifically around Royal Hope Hospital. This is a distraction, possibly a danger – and Rose wouldn’t have been able to resist.
Well, he wouldn’t be her Doctor if he didn’t investigate, now would he?
Somewhere beyond the timelines, beyond the universes, between space and through time itself, the golden wolf howls her song. All for him, to keep him safe – her Doctor. Even from himself.