A Teaspoon And An Open Mind: A Doctor Who Fan Fiction Archive
Tenth Doctor
But Broken Lights by rosa_acicularis [Reviews - 212] Printer Chapter or Story


Such clouds of nameless trouble cross
All night below the darken’d eyes;
With morning wakes the will, and cries,
‘Thou shalt not be the fool of loss.’


She wished she’d had time to ask Sarah Jane how she’d gotten home to Croydon.

There were dozens of questions she wanted to ask, really, but in the end she always came back to this. Had Sarah Jane had a friend to call, someone left who’d been willing to drive to Aberdeen and bring her home? Or had it been a long, lonely ride by bus or train?

Had he even left her with enough money for a ticket?

Rose tried to imagine it, tried to picture the Scottish countryside flying by on the far side of a darkened window. She pressed her forehead against the cool glass, and watched her own shadowed reflection as every moment she traveled farther from the place where he’d–

She felt a sharp tug on the ball of string in her hand. She turned to see if the string was caught on something, but it trailed free behind her, disappearing around a nearby hedge. String or not, he obviously didn’t intend to let her wander very far.

The first time Rose had tried to imagine what it must have been like for Sarah Jane, she had found it nearly impossible. Now, she couldn’t stop. Now, all she could see was him leaving. Now, every time he reached for her he was walking away.

He’d stood outside the chip shop and said, “No. Not to you,” and she knew he wanted to mean it.

That didn’t make it any less of a lie.

Rose took a deep, stinging breath and perched on the edge of an empty marble fountain. In its center, chubby-faced cherubs frolicked around a blossoming stone tree. She thought it looked rather stupid.

The garden was beautiful, though. Strange that he would think to bring her here, particularly during such an obviously uneventful time in the place’s history. She reached for a nearby red bloom and wondered at the depth of its colour. Both Mickey and Jimmy had been great fans of giving her a single red rose as a gift — each thinking himself terribly clever, of course. But she liked roses just as much as any other flower, and had never thought twice about it.

And now the Doctor had given her an entire planet of roses — alien heat-sucking roses, yeah, but roses nonetheless. How oddly…human of him. Human on a very him scale, sure, and yet undeniably odd.

There was another tug on the ball of string, and Rose found herself staring down at it, still gripped in her chilled hand.

He’d been holding onto her so tightly lately. She was sure it wasn’t her imagination — he’d become almost clingy. Or as clingy as a nine hundred-year-old emotionally-evasive lonely angel with a god complex could be.

Going through her things like that was entirely unlike him. Not that he’d ever had any particular respect for her privacy — certainly not. But this was the same man (mostly, anyway, and boy, did she not want to think about that right now) who’d refused to so much as have tea with her mum. Converse trainers or no, the Doctor was not the sort of bloke who enjoyed a stroll down a teenage girl’s memory lane. So what was he up to?

Rose realized she was gripping the ball of string so tightly she could feel the fibres digging into her palm. She was tired of thinking about him. Tired of worrying about him, tired of waiting for him, and bloody well tired of looking at him and remembering how unbelievably stupid she’d been.

She had thought she could stay with him forever, because she’d never stopped to think about the future (and imagine that, a time traveler forgetting about the future). She had thought she understood him as well as he did her — which wasn’t always that well, but was always enough.

She had thought she was his and he was hers, and that everything really was that simple.

Stupid, stupid ape.

Rose watched as her hand opened and the ball of string slipped through her fingers.


Oh, he was going to kill her.

He was going to track her down, save her from whatever inevitably mortal danger she’d gotten herself into (because uninhabited garden planet or no, she was Rose bloody Tyler and was probably dangling upside down over a lava pit filled with man-eating fire manatees by now), and then he was going to kill her.

Which was maybe a bit counter-productive, but still.

The Doctor shoved the ball of string into his coat pocket and stalked away.

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