knightsfalling: ([DW] Ten Show Rose Your True Self [JE])
[personal profile] knightsfalling
Title: Standing Here Being Moved by You
Author: [ profile] redknightalex
Fandom: Doctor Who
Rating: PG
Characters/Pairing: TenII/Rose, implied Ten/Rose
Genre: Angst
Warnings: None
Spoilers/Setting: After Series 4 "Journey's End", in Pete's World
Word Count: ~3,000
Summary: She had let him go, had rejected the Doctor's forgiveness, and had lost the man that loved her unconditionally. He was only a reminder of what she could never have, of what she had lost. Twice. It was then that she started having the nightmares that plagued her, waking her in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, but this time it was about the man she could never love. Or thought she never could.

Author's Note: Prompt from [ profile] sapphire_child (again) for the TTU ficathon, using the photo behind the cut. It's the angst that gets me every time!




Rose hadn't been startled awake in the dark, covered in sweat, gasping for air through her clenched teeth by nightmares in a long time. And this nightmare was new.

Usually she had the same old nightmare, the one that had haunted her for years since becoming stuck in this universe, but, like all things good and bad, it had faded in time until it had become an itch she could never scratch. She had become accustomed to its presence, to its sickness, to its disease, and, therefore, it could hold little sway over her daily life. It had tried to come back, with an unyielding vengeance, when she had returned after her trip to her original universe, to the one where her Doctor lived and saved the Earth from the Daleks, but she was determined not to let it hold her back.

And so she had tried with this new Doctor, this man who was half-human and half-Time Lord, yet still she found him wanting. He was the same man, that she could not deny, but, of all things, it was the human part of him that made it difficult for her to understand him. He'd do things the normal way, something the original Doctor would never do. He was more cautious, more scared, more emotional, more worried over her than he had any right to be. It felt like he was trying so hard to gain her affections, to prove to her that he was the same Doctor that had left her on that beach, except that wasn't the point. That had never been the point of his existence, at least to her.

Whenever she saw him, she saw the Time Lord that had left her on that beach (twice) and had stripped her down to the beginnings of her soul and left her there, raw and pained. It was hard not to blame him – to blame him for his fear of going through the heartache of grief again, the ache she could see so clearly in his eyes – but she did anyway. The only thing she had to accept now was that she would never have his forgiveness.

The Doctor's forgiveness was the man she rejected, the man she had just had nightmares about. They were new, they were different, and the hurt her equally as much as the original ones had. They cut her bone deep and left her quaking.

Rose rolled out of bed and gabbed some clothes, whatever she had on the floor or in her drawers, throwing them on quickly. In her half-aware mind, she wasn't sure if her jeans were on her arms or her jumper on her legs, but she was clothed, somehow, and out she went into the dark of night. There was no moon, only the street lamps there to guide her way, and the chill, the rain, seeped into her body, down into her bones. She found this darkness to be more menacing, more twisted and scary, than the one she had faced beneath closed eyelids.

Rose thought of the nightmare, of losing her human Doctor forever, to watch him die, and having to see it, to view it, over and over again in her head. It had scared her more than she was willing to admit, even though every part of her body felt like it had spiders crawling all over her skin, but she knew, deep down, that no matter how hard it was for them to see each other after all that had happened, she had to see him now. If only, she thought, to make sure that he was ok.

He had to be ok...had to be....must be.... What would she do without him? For all her indecision about him, about having him in her life, she knew that, deep down, she cared for him. To think of losing him, even in a dream, was enough to shake her out of this stupor she had been living in since they had left that beach, together. Even to want his warmth, his comfort, his touch. All of the things she had told him she never wanted from him she wanted now. How could he ever forgive her, ever give her what she needed right now, after all she had put him through? How could he still....

It was only after walking several blocks to his flat that she found the cold upon her face was not due to the wind, nor from the rain, but from the tears she found streaming down her face. And when she reached his flat and rang the bell, she knew that she stood there with eyes red, checks wet, and a trembling lip.

What in the world was she doing here?

The door bell rang loudly through the dark and empty flat, waking the Doctor up from his troubled sleep. He ignored it, figuring that whoever was out there at this late hour would eventually get the picture and leave him be. After becoming part-human – from his point of view at least – he found this annoying thing called “sleep” much more problematic than usual. The idea that he needed it everyday, no matter how hard he tried to escape it (and try he had), was repulsive. Then again, when Rose, the love he could he never escape, the one person he knew his lonely heart could only beat for, had eventually said that she couldn't do this, that she couldn't pretend that everything was ok, he found that sleep was his only escape from the terrors that now plagued him. Problem was that sleep was to elusive to chase forever.

It had been three weeks since she had told him that she need time, that she couldn't just jump into something when the other, the “real” Doctor was still in her thoughts, and for three weeks he had been going through the motions of a half-human life. He was still the most clever person on the planet but that never meant that he understood half of what being human was all about. He had read all the books, the self-help books the lined every bookshop, the travel guides, the psychology texts, and even the science tomes yet none of them told him how to be human. His last resort, Torchwood's Bible of Human Living For the None-Humanoid Life Form, only served to confuse him more. He should really tell them that.

All of that, his focused attention on being human, may have been why Rose had pushed him away after a week of cautiously flirting around each other, around the subject at hand, around the love he knew he felt for her. And it broke him in two when it happened.

Three weeks since....

The buzzer rang again, and again, and again, coming at increasingly smaller intervals between each buzz, that he let out a growl before jumping out of bed. Throwing on the nearest nightshirt he could find to complement his pants, he ran to the door and flung it open, a nasty retort ready upon his lips.

It died there, along with his heart, when he saw Rose on his doorstep, dripping wet from the rain and the tears he could see falling from her eyes.

Without thinking, the Doctor grabbed Rose, pulled her inside, and shut the door. With all the strength he possessed, he wrapped her into one, large, all-encompassing embrace and, at the touch of her body against his, she broke down.

Rose clutched his shoulders, holding him tight, her face buried into his neck as the sobs moved her entire body like a broken branch fighting against a strong wind. The tears wouldn't stop flowing, even as she closed her eyes with all of her strength, so a wet patch began to form on his thread-bare shirt that would, no doubt, drench his skin. Still, he didn't seem to mind. The Doctor, this Doctor, held her tighter, pressing them together so hard that she was almost lifted off the floor, and kissed her temple as she cried. His mouth, so close to her ear, whispered words she could hear but not understand, her brain too foggy and confused to understand him. Yet, by the tone in his voice, she knew that they only carried words of love.

But it hurt. It hurt so much to be held like this, to be held by a man that looked so much like him, a man she had rejected, that her heart felt like it was being torn apart, her chest a gaping wound from which a serrated blade could twist its way in. It hurt so much that it felt like she was dying. She felt so exposed and open, sore and bruised, that every tear which escaped her grasp, every movement of his hands, every press of his lips, felt like a trail of fire that scorched her skin.

Then, as if she suddenly remembered the one thing that you could never forget, Rose breathed. She gasped for air that she had forgotten to take in since being consumed in the Doctor's embrace. The sound itself was embarrassing, she knew, followed by a wail which flew out from parted lips. So she clenched them tighter, only to have them break apart to sob and gasp and wail again. The Doctor loosened his hold on her, the back of her mind protesting at the loss of full-body contact, but only so that he could let her breathe between her tears.

“Breathe,” he whispered to her, rubbing her back in circles, “breathe, Rose.”

And so she breathed, she gasped, she swallowed in lung-full takes of air into her body, moving against him as each intake was had and each one was released. It was only then, she realised, that the hole in her chest, although still very real to her, stopped its threat to consume her, and her chest no longer felt like it might cave in under the pressure. That only by gasping for air, as the Doctor suggested, did she finally feel that she'd live through this, that her tears would end, that her body would quiet, and her mind would finally rest. She'd live through this, like she did everything else, but the journey there would never cease to feel like dying.

It took longer than she thought, with all of her breathing and his presence, to calm down enough that all her tears produced from her were little moans of pain and the redness in her eyes. Yet she never let him go. Neither did he.

He was alive and real and oh so warm and comforting. They stood like that, him rocking her gently as her sobs slowly ceased. Why had she ever let this go?

“Rose,” he said softly, “I'm sorry.”

She pulled away, a hiccup escaping her lips, and rubbed at her eyes. She refused to look at his shirt, all messy from the tears and the snot that had dripped, without notice, from her, and decided to toughen up and look at his eyes.

They were still beautiful. They still spoke ages, lifetimes, of knowledge and wisdom, of insecurity and fear, of the human inside and the alien which she knew was still there for the ride. Rose felt like she could begin crying all over again just by looking at him, by looking only at his eyes, but for the way he smelled, the way he dressed, the way he lived that reminded her that he was different. His shampoo, his body wash, his dish soap, the aroma in his flat...everything, all of it, was different and strange. This was what made this Doctor separate and something like that was one thing she could never forget. Although perhaps she could slowly accept and forgive the faults which were not of his own design.

And so she looked away, over his shoulder and towards the window, light from the street lamps shining through, while she listened to him talk.

“I know that I'm not him,” he began, his voice small. “I know I can never be him. I'm either too human or too alien for you, or not enough of either. I can't change it. And...and that's ok.”

Rose suddenly looked at him, back into his eyes, and saw the hurt, the sorrow, the pain reflected back at her. She gasped at it, at him, at the pain she could see both in him and in her. Just as much as she had loved the Doctor and never saw it in his eyes, so had this Doctor pained with her and she had never noticed. She was not the only one who had been left hollow and gutted. How daft could she have ever gotten?

“Doctor...” she started, her voice trembling through the breaths she still focused on taking.

“No, Rose, don't.” He turned away, looking at the floor. “You don't have to say that name if you don't want to. And,” he looked back, cutting off her protest with a thumb to her wet lips, “let me finish. I know that you don't want me like you wanted him. I understand that I'm second best to him, and I'll never compare. I'm...I'm only half-human, only half-Time Lord. I can't take you to the stars, I can't take you to other universes, I can't share with you those things anymore. I'm sorry, so sorry I can't be the person you want me to be.”

Rose gently kissed the tip of his thumb, eyes filling with tears, and she knew not where they came from. She wanted to stop him, to say that she was maybe starting to get it, that maybe she really could give it a go like he had wanted, but she would hear him out even when her whole heart wanted to scream.

“But I'll settle. I'll settle for second best.”

Her eyes went wide and her breathing stopped, yet this time not out of pain or suffering but out of sheer surprise.

“I love you, I honestly love you and want to be with you, except I know I can't measure up to who I came from, who I was. And that's ok, really it's ok,” he keep talking, his speech picking up in speed as his nervousness seemed to increase. “I know all of the help books say that you shouldn't settle, that you're only belittling yourself and making yourself less of a person to do that for someone, no matter how you love them, but I don't care! I don't! I don't care about myself, about how it would feel to be second best, because I just want you. I want you to be happy and, dammit, I want it to be me.”

His voice broke at that, right in the middle of his normal, typical rant against whatever was on his mind, and although it felt so Doctor-ish to her, she could feel her chest hurting again. She breathed and the pain, although still there, ceased slightly in intensity.

“And if it can't be me, if it's someone else, then I'll always be here for you. I'll always love you, I'll always be for you and you have my heart, you have my soul, you have all-”

“Hold me.”

Rose watched the Doctor look at her, look at the tears on her face again, at the thumb still pressed to her lips, and then to her eyes.

“Please,” she asked, her body beginning to tremble once again, “just hold me.”

When he took her up into his arms, settling her head against his chest, she closed her eyes and let him take her where he wanted. She fully expected his bedroom, to lie there on his bed with him and be surrounded by all of the smells, all of the sights, all of the sounds that remind her of how different he was, only to find herself laid carefully upon the sofa. She looked at him surprised, as he moved in next to her, squeezed between the edge and her body.

Rose could only smile.

“The sofa?” she asked.

“The sofa,” he repeated as he brought his arms around her, kissing the top of her head. And when she breathed, when she smelled him this time, all she felt was comfort, devotion, and love.

She felt terrified of the things he was offering right now, except, somehow, she felt like she just might be ready for them, no matter how they made her tremble. And it wasn't because of his words, or his speech that put her on a pedestal and he a mere worshiper of her, but because of the thought he had obviously put into it, of the sacrifice he would make on an emotional level. He'd do anything for her, she realised, everything that the original -- no, the other Doctor -- never could. He'd give his heart, his soul, his everything just to have a tiny bit of her and he would have been content.

He deserved better though. He deserved her and she him. Perhaps, now, she could take the other Doctor's forgiveness and have it for as long as they lived.

With a lazy smile, Rose moved the Doctor fully onto the sofa, laying him on his back. He watched her, perplexed, until he gasped aloud when she settled down on top of him. Her hands, one wrapped underneath his shoulder and the other taking his own to hold, held her steady as she placed her ear over his heart. Her legs fell around his and she could feel him all over and around her. It was like taking that first, fresh breath of a new summer.

Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. One heart, one life, and it was both of theirs. Somehow.

“Hold me, Doctor,” she repeated, uttering his name with a warmth she barely remembered.

Throwing a blanket over them that he took from the edge of the sofa, the Doctor held Rose, stroking her hair and entwining their fingers together.

“I'll hold you forever, Rose.”
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