Doctor Who – Wouldn’t Have Missed It

And I have never in my life
Felt more alone than I do now
Although I claim dominions over all I see
It means nothing to me
There are no victories
In all our histories, without love
-Mad About You, Sting
-Prompt from Sapphire_Child

The universe, open before him. Waiting. Waiting for a traveler. Waiting for someone to witness history’s greatest moments, never before seen by a sentient being. Waiting for a laugh, a sound of wonder, a voice to cry out in outrage at the injustice of it all – waiting to be seen. And with all that open before him, all he could do was walk around inside his ship. Numb.

The TARDIS spun slowly in the vortex. Though inside the temporal maelstrom, the inside was as quiet as a tomb. His footsteps echoed on the grating as he moved from one room to another. Restlessly. Alternating between bouts of total silence, and moments when his fury at the injustice of the universe as a whole threatened to overwhelm him – more often than not manifesting itself in a wordless shout. A vicious, swift kick to the faultless machinery around him. Followed almost instantly by murmured apologies, petting of the walls and any other piece of the TARDIS he could easily reach… and usually a fair amount of limping.

After all, his ship was the only companion he had, now.

She wasn’t a bad one. They’d been bonded for many centuries at this point, and she could anticipate his feelings as he could anticipate hers. Which, he supposed in his more lucid moments, made this as bad for her as it was for him. He’d apologize, then. Pet her coral supports, maybe hug one.

Not that there was anyone else to hug anymore.

Rose. Rose, Rose, Rose, Rose. His footsteps seemed to call her name. His heartbeats cried out in tandem for the one so evenly matched between them. His body trembled with barely held-in grief, and more often than not, he stood in the doorway to her room and just stared. It was just the way she’d left it that morning when they’d first set out for her mum’s. Hand in hand, walking, happy. Laughing at some story… His memory held on to every aspect of that day – except what they’d been talking about. He just… couldn’t remember it. No matter what he did.

And it wasn’t like he could ask Rose. Though the thought occurred to him at least twelve times a day. Sometimes as many as twenty. Thirty. It was really too easy to lose count.

The TARDIS listened, watched, and waited. She knew that Rose wasn’t coming back. And she knew that her Doctor’s hearts were broken – more broken, if it was possible, than they’d been when he’d lost his entire species and planet. She had mourned with him then, too. She mourned with him now.

Rose hadn’t been like any of the other humans he’d consorted with over the years. Rose Tyler was the first person the TARDIS had spoken to other than the Doctor. She’d nudged at Sarah Jane, she’d communed with K-9, a fellow machine… But Rose could hear her, and understand her, to a point no human ever had before. She had to be careful when she spoke to her – Rose’s mind was only human, after all, and couldn’t process things as quickly as a Time Lord, but she was easily able to get her point across, most of the time.

And Rose wouldn’t want the Doctor moping around in the vortex for the rest of time. She was sure of that, too. But her Time Lord was good at hiding his feelings, even from himself. She knew that, until he mourned properly, there would be no living with him… No living at all, really. Just nothingness. And so, though it would pain her to hurt him, to make him hurt… she came up with a plan.

“Our paths may never cross again…”

She’d found the song deep in her databases. Analysis of the lyrics spoke volumes.

“Maybe my heart will never mend…”

Hearts, not heart, but the point was still there.

“But I’m glad for all the good times
Cause you’ve brought me so much sunshine
And love was the best it’s ever been…”

The Doctor was jarred from… well, blankly standing and staring at the time rotor… by music drifting through the halls of the TARDIS. His brow furrowed, and for a moment, his eyes lost the glazed over look that they’d had since he’d first entered the vortex after dropping off Donna Noble. “What?” He looked around and furrowed his brow. “What?!” He stared at the console for a moment when he felt the ship nudge the back of his mind. “What is it?” The ship was silent, but the music continued to play.

“I wouldn’t have missed it for the world
Wouldn’t have missed loving you girl
You’ve made my whole life worth while, with your smile…”

He moved through the ship, searching for the source of the sound – but with every room he entered, the sound seemed to move ahead of him. “What are you doing, girl?” But he couldn’t help listening to the song.

“I wouldn’t trade one memory
Cause you mean too much to me
Even though I lost you girl
I wouldn’t have missed it for the world…”

“Stop it. STOP it!” He swallowed around a lump in his throat, and continued to chase the music. “Turn it off. TARDIS!” He very rarely called her by name… and his voice cracked at it. He wasn’t stupid – he knew exactly what she was doing now that he’d heard the song. She’d tried something similar when he was refusing to mourn Gallifrey.

Unfortunately for him, much like last time – it was working.

“They say that all good things must end
Loves comes and goes just like the wind
You’ve got your dreams to follow
But if I had the chance tomorrow
You know I’d do it all again…”

He stopped in the middle of the library, sinking into an overstuffed chair, and dropped his face into his hands. He shoved his palms into his eyes, but he couldn’t stop himself now that the tears had begun to fall. “Stop it…”

It hurt her to see him like this – she couldn’t hold him, couldn’t comfort him… All she could do was let him get it out. She kept the music playing.

“I wouldn’t have missed it for the world
Wouldn’t have missed loving you girl
You’ve made my whole life worth while, with your smile
I wouldn’t trade one memory
Cause you mean too much to me
Even though I lost you girl
I wouldn’t have missed it for the world…”

By the time the song ended, he was curled up in the chair, sobbing. Oh, Rose… his Rose… He hadn’t even been able to say goodbye properly. Hadn’t been able to tell her he loved her… Why wasn’t he able to get it out of his mouth before? Why hadn’t he said it one of the myriad of times he’d had the chance BEFORE she was trapped in a parallel dimension, away from him? Why? Why was he such an IDIOT?!

The TARDIS watched him. She watched him as he cried. Watched him as his sobs turned to sniffles. Watched as his breathing slowly deepened. Watched, as her Time Lord fell asleep, curled up in the library chair. She zoomed in on him, noticing something clutched in his hands, held tight to his chest. It didn’t take her long to figure out what it was. He’d found the jacket Rose had left in that chair when she’d last been in the library, reading. He was cuddling it to his chest, his nose buried in it.

The ship’s heart broke for him. However, her plan had ultimately worked… Finally, he was sleeping. Finally, he’d begun mourning properly. She could only hope that, maybe now, the healing would begin. She went through her music library, put on some quiet classical pieces, and just watched her Time Lord sleep.