Category: Ten/Rose, Spoilers for EOT II
A/N: First ever fanfic. Written for the Doctor/Rose Fix Summer '11 Fixathon (in about two hours, and posted quickly thereafter, so that I wouldn't have time to lose my nerve first.)
When you live long enough, you acquire what most would consider an extremely warped idea of what is and isn’t possible—no, really, just start with time travel and move on out, to every sort of alien and religion and political structure you can imagine, to unimaginable depths of cruelty and incredible heights of compassion.
But there’s a flip side to this kind of experience. Live long enough, and you start to believe your definition of “impossible” to be absolute. Maybe when you find yourself faced with an impossibility made possible, then, you freeze up where you would otherwise take immediate control.
There are no holes in the time vortex. A planet cannot orbit a black hole. Nothing can exist before time. A ship cannot travel in the void—or to the end of the universe. A human cannot appear on an in-flight TARDIS. Time Locks are absolute.
Maybe, you don’t even try.
Parallel worlds are sealed off (no, for good this time), and the Doctor will die without ever seeing Rose Tyler again.
When he stumbles out of the TARDIS, he knows this is his last stop. His vision is blurred, his legs are weak (no more running), and each breath’s journey between mouth and lungs seems absurdly harsh. His hearts hammer in his ears, keeping time with the shards of pain exploding in his abdomen, like the condemnation of four knocks, endlessly repeated, like relentless drums.
The agony of resisting the regeneration is all-consuming enough that he’s crossed a snowy courtyard and slumped across the opposite wall before he realizes that this isn’t the peaceful, deserted planet he’d chosen for his funeral pyre. He’d seen to Martha, and Donna, and Sarah Jane and all the others (except for Rose, of course, but he had seen, too many times in his mind, her tears and her confusion and her mouth on another’s, and anyway, she was Impossible and keeping away from that train of thought kept him sane).
He knows where he is, but not when, and no matter—without her, the unexpected feeling of home that came with this place is gone. If the TARDIS meant this as a final comfort she’s made a mistake, because without Rose this place is just a bitter reminder of what he’s lost.
And he doesn’t want to regenerate in some filthy, freezing alley. He doesn’t want the last thing he sees to be a smear of sloppy graffiti, with the acrid sting of pollutants in his nose and the distant catcalls of drunken revelers in his ears. He doesn’t want everything he’s accomplished to come to this, because in this life, oh, he’s won and he’s lost and he’s lived and he’s loved and he could have done so much more and he doesn’t want to—
Oh. OH. That voice.
And now she’s noticed him, and he should really be staggering back to the TARDIS, because if she remembers him the whole timeline could go to hell and the heartsache be damned but he wouldn’t give up a single second of the time he had with her, not for anything— but he can’t make himself turn away, he just can’t. Twice now he’s walked away from her, but that kind of strength is beyond him, tonight. He tells himself that the TARDIS knew what she was doing, taking him here.
I bet you’re going to have a really great year.
His end is her beginning, and now he understands—what they had is never really over, because somewhere, somewhen, they’re holding hands and they’re running and—
One hearts-stopping grin later, and he’s—
—he’s happy. He’s about to die, and he’s happy. No. Impossible.
But it’s not. Because from the first day he’s met her, that’s what she’s done for him.
Funny, that after more than 900 years it would one little human—one ignorant, immature, inexplicable, fantastic, brilliant, beautiful, lovable human—to show him that, truly, nothing is impossible.