Genre: Doctor Who (2005)
Word Count: 866
Warning - Character death
She caught sight of herself, reflected on the dark glass and her first thought was, what is that old woman doing in her house? Then she smiled self-depreciating and touched her face. The reflected image did the same. Then it was, how did I get this old?
He would have laughed at that. “One day at a time, Rose Tyler, one day at a time.”
She turned from the window and carefully walked back to bed. He was never far from her thoughts, even though he’d been dead nearly five years. As promised, they’d grown old together and the years they shared had been good ones.
Rose sat down on the bed, their bed, and ran her hand over the bedspread.
“I still miss him,” she murmured, more to herself than the dog sleeping there. Its tail thumped wearily.
The last few nights had been hard ones. She kept dreaming of another place, and another life cut short when The Doctor sent her to this parallel world. He’d burned up a star for a chance to say good-bye and even that didn’t happen.
“Oh, Doctor, I need you.”
“No, you don’t.”
The sound of his voice made her heart feel like it would suddenly explode. She turned quickly, almost losing her balance. There was no one there. “Yes, I do,” she whispered. Tears welled up and trickled down her face in twin paths. “I’m scared and I’m alone.”
“You, Rose Tyler? How can you be alone? You have a family and they think the world of you. You have grandchildren, we have grandchildren. Gallifrey lives because of you? You didn’t just give birth to a son, you gave birth to a Time Lord and a whole planet. Everything that might have been gone is here because of you.” His voice was so clear, so strong, just as it had always been.
“But you aren’t here.” She turned back to the bed, cold and empty. On night like this, it felt as if she was crawling into her grave.
“No, I’m not. I can’t be.”
“I miss you.” She sat on the edge and looked over at a family portrait.
“I miss you, too, Rose Tyler.” The voice was heavy now, the voice of the older man, the man struggling to stay alive one more moment just for her. He fought long and hard at the end, but there was no more running, no more glorious escapes in the TARDIS. In the end, there was only death.
Her mum, Jackie, was smiling, but there was a hardness in her eyes. “I told you he’d leave you again, Rose. I warned you. That’s what he does, he leaves and I’m stuck with the mess.”
True, but now even Jackie wasn’t there to chastise, then to kiss her and make the ache less. Her father was gone, too. She was the only one left who remembered the Age of Iron, the attack of the Cybermen. He’d lost his Jackie to them. Rose had given him a second chance to love again and he’d given her a chance to know a fatherly love she’d never had on her Earth.
She’d turned their world on its ear to create a machine to help her skip through time to find him, only to lose him to a Dalek’s shot. He regenerated but as two. One her Doctor and the other so very much a copy, but human. He was a man who held her hand and gave her hope. He gave her courage and a reason to take her next breath.
Tomorrow the sun would rise, the birds would sing, life would go on whether she wanted it to or not.
She shrugged off her robe, then climbed slowly into bed. The pillows were soft and welcoming. She had so little energy these days.
Rose looked at the window and smiled. She could see him peering in, watching her and protecting their little family as always.
Bosco whined and licked her hand. She closed her eyes as she petted his head. “Shh, that’s a good boy.”
“Up and out of that bed, Rose. We have some place to be.”
She refused to open her eyes. “No, not now, maybe later. I’m tired.”
“Nonsense! It’s time. Come with me, Rose. One last trip in the TARDIS. We’ll be back before they even know you are gone.”
She looked up and he was standing there, not a day older than that day he left her on the beach at Bad Wolf Bay. “You’re not real. You’re not here.”
He took her hand and pulled gently. “I am now. C’mon, Rose, run!”
She was on her feet and running, something she hadn’t done in years. Mickey waved to her and she gave a happy little cry. Then she saw her mum and raced to her nearly collapsing before reaching her.
“It’s okay, sweetheart. It’s okay now.”
“How did you do this?” She asked as The Doctor joined her.
“Time Lord, remember? Oh, you’ll be needing this.” He held out a small key to her, a TARDIS key.
The family found her the next day, her body cold, her essence gone, but they were at least able to console themselves with the smile that was on her lips and a strange key clutched in her hand.