knightsfalling: ([DW] Ten Four Knocks [EoT])
[personal profile] knightsfalling
Title: How to Say Goodbye
Author: [livejournal.com profile] redknightalex
Fandom: Doctor Who
Rating: PG
Pairing/Characters: Ten/Rose
Warnings: None
Word Count: 4,200
Spoilers: EoT Part 2.
Disclaimer: The BBC owns everything and I make no profit. I do get to eat this chocolate though. That's mine.
Summary: Rose dreams of a man on New Year's Day so intoxicated that he could barely remember the year he was celebrating. When she idly talks of it with the Doctor on their short holiday years later she realizes that it was no dream at all. Instead, she had remembered the last act of a dying Doctor.


Author's Notes: Yes, wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey and all that jazz, yet the end to EoT Part 2 always bothered me to the point that I firmly believe that Rose must have remembered Ten in that dark little corner. This is the story of how she does. Set sometime late series 2.

And this one's for [livejournal.com profile] jiji_bean. Wednesday is coming soon!

Originally posted here.




They were lounging in the library, Rose curled up on a couch, a thick quilt pulled up to her chin as she looked at the rows of books – some so old she was sure that they predated her mother – and at the Doctor who was using the twelve foot high rolling ladders like a small boy bouncing on a new hotel bed. He'd push off of one ledge, flying across the stacks, before reaching out a hand to stop himself, perused through the books there, then launched himself off in another direction.

Rose sighed at his antics.

“What, again, are you looking for?”

He never even turned around to look at her. “My original copy of Hamlet.” He paused for a moment as he glanced at one book, read the spine quickly, and placed it back on the shelf. “If you insist on a few days of downtime than I at least need to have some sort of adventure.”

She rolled her eyes at him, contemplated sticking her tongue out too, but then figured he must have eyes in the back of his head going by the way he always seemed to know where she was. “All I asked for,” she explained, “was a day off, a day to take a rest. A short holiday, yeah?”

The Doctor tossed a book onto the floor, right next to the other ones he had thrown previously to the floor. His apparent reverence for his books was evident as the pile kept growing, with most books miraculously landing neatly onto a pile on the floor. In fact, the Doctor had managed to create several rows of neatly placed books. That must have required lots of training, skills, and very little sleep.

Rose lifted herself up on her elbows to look at this title, Great Expectations, before sinking back down again.

Great Expectations is not Hamlet.”

He finally turned around to look at her, his face hard to read, before racing off in another direction. “No, it's not, but I need a lot to read if I'm going to wait for your 'short holiday' to be over with.”

“That's at least two dozen books right there!” Rose pointed at the book stack, “and I just want a one-day holiday, y'hear? It's not like we're taking a proper holiday now is it? You wouldn't settle down that long enough anyway.”

“I would!”

Rose huffed. “You're a horrible liar, you do know that.”

When the squeaking and the book sorting had stopped, she looked up to find him staring at her, his back to the shelves – and the ladder that held him safely above the floor – with arms crossed tightly across his chest.

“If you want a proper holiday,” he began, making his way precariously down the ladder, “then you could just tell me and I'll find a spot.”

“Right.”

“I would!”

“Trouble follows you! Follows us! My mother was completely right,” Rose begrudgingly admitted. She turned on her side, still curled up in the warm quilt, and watched as he sorted through the pile he had accumulated. “It wouldn't matter what we had planned to do or where we went, we'd have to save a planet. Again. From some alien menace, of which,” she pointed a covered finger at him, “you sometimes are, and by the time all was said and done, we'd have had everything but our holiday.”

He opened his mouth to explain, to defend himself, to defend their travels, when she shook her head at him.

“No,” she said, a teasing spirit riding along with her words, “don't you even start with me.”

His jaw snapped shut, and, with a bit of a shrug, he began to place the books in a cloth bag.

She studied him, her irritation at his attitude, and complete disregard for the concept of a holiday, slowly ebbed away. All she had wanted, had wished for, was one single day, however long that day may be for them, just to relax. Just that one day with him, and only him, one in which that she could breathe again and watch him move, read, tinker with the TARDIS, watch him do anything, if only to have one day for him to be hers alone. She could share him with all of the things inside the TARDIS, even with the TARDIS herself (like there could ever be much a of a competition there, she thought idly), but not with the running, the monsters, the demons, and, sometimes, even the adventures.

Not that she ever truly minded those things – they were her life, his life, their life – and she'd never trade any of it for the world but, for one minute, she wanted to believe that they could just be together, without all of that, and enjoy each other's company for who they were. She wanted to believe that they could be domestic, in their own unconventional way, and already she was starting to doubt it.

Rose gave out a sigh. He was piling up books to read in the comfort of his own sanctuary, away from her she assumed, and she would be left on her own to find some sort of novel (maybe he even had a romance section?), a journal to write in, or just grab her mobile and give her mom a call.

She cringed at the thought. Who knew how long it had been and she still remember, all too well, how the first time had gone over. Perhaps phoning home as not the best of ideas.

She looked back at the Doctor, sighing, and noticed, not for the first time today, his brown suit, his gorgeous hair, the way he clutched at the table next to him and then, something suddenly clicked, like a piece of a puzzle had just fit snugly and had now made it complete.

“I had a dream, last night,” Rose said, almost distractedly. The thought, the dream, the puzzle coming to her stronger than the time she had first woken up that morning.

“Oh? Was I in it?” the Doctor teased.

Rose shifted onto her back again, starred at the high ceilings, thinking of the stars in her dream, of the snow and the lights, and smiled. “Yeah, you were.”

The sound of books being moved stopped and when she glanced out of the corner of her eye at him, she saw a startled expression etched across his face. He looked much like a deer would in a headlight...or however that saying went.

“I was?” he asked, his voice forcefully casual.

“You were,” Rose began, closing her eyes, trying hard to remember it. There was something about this dream, something that didn't quite match up to everything else, that made her try so hard to recall it in as much detail as she could manage. “It was New Year's, in the dream, must have been, and it was snowing. I was walking home with me mom for some strange reason.”

She took a moment, letting the dream sink into her, before starting again. “And I was headed off to see Mickey-”

The Doctor snorted at the name.

Rose opened her eyes and sat up, clutching at the quilt. “Oi! He was a good man! And now he's fighting Cybermen in that parallel universe, alright?”

She saw the Doctor shift a bit, his mouth still set in a bitter frown, and Rose put this one into the ever-growing pile of “the Doctor has a jealous streak” bucket. “Anyway, it's just you and me now so there's no reason to be jealous!”

The Doctor's head snapped up. “I'm not jealous! I was never jealous of Mickey-”

“Liar.”

“Rose,” the Doctor warned, his eyes wide, “I'm warning you: I'm not jealous. He just had a penchant for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“Rather like you.”

The Doctor went back to his books before, in a playful manner, he tossed one in her direction. “Trouble finds me, remember?”

Rose picked up the book -- Pride and Prejudice -- snickered, and left it on the table to the side of the couch. “Alright, fine, I'll give you that one.”

The Doctor gave back a wicked grin.

“Now,” Rose started, “where was I?”

“Mickey.”

“And New Year's.”

“And New Year's,” the Doctor agreed as he filled up one bag of books. “So what happened then, in your dream, with me in it?”

“I was walking home, to see Mickey for the holiday, when I saw this bloke. He was leaning against this power unit, railing, or something like that. Y'know, right near the estate?”

Rose watched the Doctor nod his head, not only noticing that he was still listening but was doing it actively, before marching forward with her dream.

“He looked rather out of it, pissed really, I think,” Rose crinkled her nose a tad, the tip of her tongue sticking out slightly as she thought about it. “No, not really that, but I believe I asked him if he was. He said that he was a bit. I didn't completely believe him, seeing as he asked what year it was. I told him that it was 2005. That poor ol' sod must have been so pissed to not have even remembered the year!”

Rose noticed that the Doctor had slowly started to stop his packing and was now looking at her intently.

“You sure this was a dream?” he inquired, his face intense and serious, the way it gets when she watches him work on a problem in his head. Usually this happens when he isn't noticing her, solely focused on his problem and the forthcoming brilliant idea he would come up with out of nowhere, and she could stare unabashedly at his cheeks, eyes, hair, and, sometimes, occasionally, frequently, at his lips.

Rose shifted uncomfortably on the couch. “Yeah, 'course it was, what else would it be?”

The Doctor hadn't stop staring at her. “What happened then?”

“Well, I went back to Mickey and oh!”

“What?”

“He told me I'd...have a really....great,” Rose started saying yet, with each passing word, her voice grew softer and the length between them grew longer, “year.”

Silence reigned. Her words stuck to the ceiling of the library, passing between the two of them, fluidly, quietly, heavily, as they each realized that this was no dream. That was the the thing that never quite matched, the one piece of the puzzle she couldn't color, the one that never made sense until now, until that brilliant moment where they both came to the same realization at the exact same time.

“I met you in 2005,” Rose stated.

“Rose-” the Doctor warned.

“I met you, the previous you,” she clarified, as if it needed saying, “in 2005, the same year I met this strange bloke on the street.”

“Rose,” the Doctor said louder, his voice taking on a warning tone, “I think you should-”

“And he wore a brown coat,” she kept gong, obvious to the Doctor's warnings, to his pleas, to the hands that were now shaking her knees. “He wore a brown coat, like yours, I could see it even if he was standing in that dark, dank old corner of his. And his hair flopped up with side burns to there....And he smiled at me like you do.”

Rose suddenly looked up and saw that same man she had dreamed about kneeling between her legs, his hands clutching her knees, a warning sign for her to stop, but all she could think of was the Doctor in front of her now and the Doctor she had seen in her dreams.

“It wasn't a dream,” Rose stated simply, “it was-”

“ROSE!”

“-you.”

“Rose,” the Doctor gasped out, “you need to stop.”

“But,” she began excitedly, “it was you! I saw you before I even met you, before you were even like this!”

“Rose!”

“You were that man in the street!”

“Rose, stop this now!”

“You were pale. You looked horrible! Drained, weaker than I've ever seen you before. You were even scared too. Terrified even and,” Rose said and then, quite unexpectedly, her hand flew to her mouth in horror. “You were-”

“ROSE!” the Doctor yelled again, shoving off of her, getting up to his feet, and trying hard not to listen to her next words.

“-dying.”

She watched him, with eyes tearing over at the thought of his death, as he rubbed his face furiously before moving on to mess up his hair. When he started to pace, Rose got up off of the couch and, not entirely knowing what to do, let him.

“I saw you.”

“Yes.”

“In...your future?”

“Yes,” the Doctor spun to face her, a finger pointed in her direction, “and you can't tell me anymore! Rose, I mean it. That wasn't a dream-”

“I know that!”

“-and you can't tell me anymore! That's my future and I can't know it!”

“I know that.”

“I went back through my own timeline, risked things. Why would I do that?!” The Doctor threw his arms up into the air and began to pace again. It was quick, hard, and impassioned.

The Doctor was angry, that was plain to see, and Rose hoped it wasn't at her. She hadn't done anything wrong, had she? She had just started off by telling him this silly dream she had dreamt the night before and if she had known it was his future, if what she had seen in her sleep was something he should never be allowed to know, she would have kept her mouth shut.

Except, how was she ever to know things like this without him? She tired, she tried so very hard, and still she couldn’t quite grasp the concept of a flowing time, of one that revolved around them instead of the other way around. But he, the Doctor, could.

“Doctor?” Rose asked carefully.

He kept pacing. Back and forth. Right and left. He was out of control, out of his element, listening to things that he should not be privy to.

“Doctor?!”

Pacing, pacing, pacing.

“Doctor!”

“What?”

“Were you...dying?”

“Rose,” he repeated, his pacing having stopped, as he looked her square in the eye, his voice firm and one that held no room for debate, “we can't discuss this. I can't know my future.”

“Except it happened, to me” Rose argued back, her voice getting louder and louder as he raised his voice as well. “You came back to me. That should mean something!”

He covered his head with his hands again and groaned. “Stop,” he pleaded with her, his voice, his tone, his body, softer now, “please, just stop.”

“But,” she thought for a minute, searching the floor, and her forgotten quilt, for the answers that seemed just outside of her grasp. The dream, the new reality, was still fuzzy, like the snow that covered the air in it, in her memories. The paint was still drying. “You were dying and where...where was I?”

He looked back at her, hands moving only slightly away from his face, fear carved into him like a chisel had moved over his features and set it into stone. With a few quick strides, he made it over to her, his shaking hands gripping her shoulders tight, and looked into her eyes.

“I don't know but we can't-”

“Where was I, Doctor?” she squeaked out, her voice breaking a bit at the thought of the Doctor dying, alone, in a strange corner of the estate, with her just a few steps away on a New Year's day, and the real her, the future her, somewhere lost. “Where did I go? What happened to me?”

The Doctor shook his head, taking her along with him just through the sheer force of it. “Stop, please, you need to forget this.”

Rose struggled out of the Doctor's grasp. “I'm not going to forget about this!” She yelled at him, her anger coming back to her like a tide “You were dying, alone, and I was nowhere! Where did I go?!”

“I don't know!”

“Did I die? Did you leave me-”

“No!” he barked back at her, hurt and anger mixing dangerously in his voice, “I wouldn't leave you. Never. Not you.”

Rose rubbed at her eye, surprised to find a thick moisture hanging onto her palm. She had been crying. She was crying. And the Doctor....

She glanced up at him and found him utterly devastated. It was a look she had never seen before, one of desolation, of complete and utter despair, and one she hoped never to see again. That look, the hollowness in his eyes, the naked fear that shone through them, shattered her heart to pieces.

“I don't know the future, Rose,” he whispered, the silence deafening after the shouting and the fury, taking her once more by the arms, his touch gentler this time but his fingers no less firm. “I don't know my future; I can't see it. Not those moments. And I can't know. Can never know, alright?”

Rose nodded in understanding yet it didn't help the hole she felt in her heart nor the aching feeling she felt in her gut. This, everything about this dream, about the dream turned to memory, was wrong. Why had she remembered? Why had she ever brought it up? Why had he done what he did in his future, in her past? Why had he come back to say goodbye in his last moments? Why?

The stood there for a good time, letting the questions, the unanswerable horrors that plagued them both, hang between them and it ate at them, at the heart of the them, at the beginning and the end of them, whatever they were, and, before long, Rose couldn't stand it. Everyone, now, was where they should be. Everything had been painted in brilliant, vibrant, fantastic colors, and the irrefutable meaning of what those colors where, of what they meant, was something that needed to be said, aloud, right here, right now, in this silence and, God help her, she didn't care if he ever heard her say them.

“You were saying goodbye,” she whispered and when he heard her say those words, when he acknowledged them, she was surprised.

“Maybe I was,” he admitted, his voice suddenly as soft as hers, intimate in its passing between their bodies, “maybe I needed to say goodbye to you.”

“But why then?” Rose asked breathlessly. “Why in the past? Why was I not-”

Rose's words caught in her throat as he ran a trembling finger down her cheek, touching the tears and the running mascara, catching them on the tip of it. He stared at the stain for a moment, the sadness, the desolation, still in his eyes, and she knew that she'd never get that answer from him. They would never know until it actually happened.

“Eventually,” he began, wiping his finger absently across his trousers, and pulled her up into a tight embrace, clinging to her tightly, “all good things must end, Rose, and-” he stopped there, burying his face into her hair, his breath caressing her ear as he let out a shaky exhale. “And someday we will have to say goodbye.”

Rose nodded, breathing into his familiar-smelling clothes, reminding her so much of the one that was covered with snow from her dream, her memories, her foggy past, and let the tears run down her face freely. It seemed so fitting, now that she thought on it, that he had worn the same thing in her dream, in her past, that he does now. Did he ever change?

But...goodbye. It was so final, so immediate, so true. Someday, maybe soon, maybe decades from now, they would have to say goodbye. Curse of the Time Lords, he had said, wasn't it? She still remembered the look in his eyes, one not as lost and confused as the one she had seen him with today, right now, but it had the same dangerous edges to it that made her hang even more tightly to him.

Perhaps, if a goodbye was so imminent, so impossible to avoid, then why not say it now and be done with it? It seemed to be the only logical conclusion. What was that old saying? Just get over and done with it?

“Doctor?” she whispered against him, swallowing the sob that tried hard to escape from her aching throat.

He pulled away from her a bit, their bodies still touching in all the places that made her breath hitch in her chest, causing her heart to only beat faster and faster, and looked right at her with the same hollow eyes she had wanted to forget.

“How would you say goodbye, if you had the chance?”

Did he notice the pleading look on her face when she asked him? Did he hear the fear in her voice? Did he feel the shake of her body as he held her close? Did he still see her, for all that she was, and all that she ever would be? Did he feel her heart thundering wildly in her chest? Could he hear it? Could he do all of this and say goodbye when no goodbye was yet necessary?

It had only started out as a dream, a foggy one at that, and when she had finally spoke about it aloud did all of the pieces come together, as if they were made to fit here, right now, in this library, with this Doctor, in this time. Maybe this wasn't a dream, or a scare, or a bad moment at all. Maybe this was as it always should be.

Then, without preamble, without thought or hesitation, he grabbed her face and kissed her. His lips were hard against hers, yet never demanding more than the delicious pressure of their lips touching, while his fingers circled around her head, into her hair, and scratched at the base of her neck. When she sighed into it, the tears slipped between their sealed mouths and the mixture of their life and pain, always so closely entwined, made her legs quiver and his hearts triple in speed. He held her there, for as long as he could stand it, until he broke the sweet, needing connection and let his forehead fall against hers.

Their breath fell against each other's cheeks, drying tears they no longer noticed, as the Doctor closed his eyes and tried to empty his mind.

“That,” he panted out, his voice breaking, “is how I would say goodbye.”

With a quick release and a turn away, he stormed out of the library, his footsteps echoing off the walls, and left Rose, staring at him in his wake, alone but for the books that hadn't been packed still littering the floor and the bags he had forgotten a lifetime ago.

She found the couch through memory alone and collapsed into it, her back sagging against the cushions, and rubbed her tears away tiredly with the back of her sleeve. For a while, she sat there, eyes glazed other, heart thumping loudly in her ears, as she soaked in all that had happened.

The Doctor had kissed her, had said goodbye before it was even time, but he had kissed her. Kissed her so hard that her lips felt bruised, that her scalp felt sore, and her legs felt weak at the thought of the physical strength she had never seen from him before.

The Doctor had kissed her.

The thought kept running over in her mind, again and again, replaying the kiss, the tears, the frantic nature of everything, and, as if it was the first time it had occurred to her, how he had left.

Now confused, dazed, and very much annoyed, Rose got up and stormed out of the library in a very similar fashion. The Doctor would explain his actions, would actually use the words she knew he was capable of expressing, and either kiss her again or be done with her. She was bored with this stand still, with the knowing yet not-knowing smiles, with the hints, the flirts, the hugs, the words that stuck to their throats like a bird's song stopped in the middle of a tune. Nothing ever happened with them, nothing ever moved forward, and they were stuck, like this, together and yet so very apart.

It was time to end it. Now.

She found him lounging in his own room, a place she rarely found him in, and opened the door wide. She failed to notice the copy of Hamlet on his bed, half-covered by the duvet, that he had hurriedly placed down when she had stormed in.

“That wasn't a goodbye.”

The Doctor sat on the edge of his neatly kept bed, looking rather confused, and more than slightly annoyed, at the intrusion but, with a grace she thought he had left back in the library, got up and walked over to her. At his sudden proximity Rose felt a little faint, recalling in vivid detail the kiss that had recently been placed on her lips, and forced her hands to stay still, to not touch the still-tingling flesh, and carry on with it.

“That was a hello.”
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