Remember to Forget Me by SomeKindOfNature
Summary: After a long and strenuous year under the Master's thumb, the TARDIS crew takes a few moments to breathe. The Doctor and Rose, still coming to terms with the changes in themselves and their relationship, spend an evening alone together. Tensions are high but each is eager to overcome the hurdles between them....as long as no one pushes too far.
Categories: Tenth Doctor
Characters: Jack Harkness, Rose Tyler, The Doctor (10th)
Genres: Angst, Drama, Fluff, Hurt/Comfort, Romance, Series
Series: Bone of His Bone and Flesh of His Flesh
Remember to Forget Me by SomeKindOfNature
Chapter 1: You Left Pieces of Me Along the Side of the RoadAuthor's Notes: Hello everyone! I know it has been a little bit of a hiatus but ya know....2020. F me. I'm sure you all have a story or two by now...and maybe a few choice curse words. I was distracted by another fandom that has not left my soul and I have to admit, I might have been a bit worried that I couldn't get back into these characters voices. However, I realized that I have room in my heart for two favorite ships... and maybe more.
This piece was originally meant to be a one shot but it grew into this shameless self-indulgent five-part piece of angst and fluff. And I tried...I really did try but I can't find what to cut. Each part has moments that are precious to me. I'll be posting a new chapter each week so maybe you all can let me know. Thank you for reading! I appreciate every view.
Just wanted to give credit to the musicians that inspired this story:
Remember to Forget Me - Blink 182
We Might as Well be Strangers - Keane
Rose's feet pounded on the concrete, each harsh step sending shockwaves up her body. Her lungs burned with exertion and her heart raced like a freight train in her breast. She sucked in another breath of thick humid air that stung her nose with the scent of exhaust, brine, and decomposing waste. She was used to it and even though the Doctor had taken her to so many places where the air was crisp and clean or sweet with the perfume of apple grass, Rose would always hold a special place in her heart for the smell of the urban jungle. It reminded her of home, of her roots. Her life had taken such a strange path since then, it was comforting to know that some things stayed familiar. Even when she didn't recognize much of herself in the mirror these days, she could always recognize the scent of the city.
The Cardiff summer evening was warm, adding extra dampness to her already sweat soaked t-shirt, and Rose questioned for the third time whether running in this heat was a bad idea. It was stifling and her aching muscles were beginning to shake. Her footsteps faltered, sending her reeling toward the ground but she managed to regain her balance. Growling under her breath, she shook head in frustration. Was her body really this weak? She couldn't believe it.
Rose had started to feel more like herself in the last two days; with the notable exception of having her telepathic senses stunted by the dampener she wore and the nightmares that haunted her sleeping hours. She felt stable, if a bit tired. So, when she started out with the decision to run four miles, she hadn't thought it overly ambitious. There was a time in her life when running four miles would be considered an 'easy day'. She used to be strong. She used to have endurance. However, after just one mile, she had turned around and it was damn frustrating.
A sudden cramp in her side left her gasping and her hand flew to her belly, fingers pressing into the soft tissue as if they could somehow stem the tide of pain. Her body was being very clear about its limitations. It was telling her to take a break, but Rose ignored it. Home wasn't far; just down this next alleyway and she would see those blue doors. She turned the corner and froze. The alleyway was empty. Her heart dropped. Where was it? Where was the TARDIS? She spun in a circle, but there was nowhere else to look. Had the Doctor left her? But… he promised. A hot wind breezed into the alley, rolling crumpled papers through it like tumbleweeds in a desert. Deserted, that's what she was…deserted. The song crooning in her ears made her throat tighten around a breath and tears threatened to burst from her eyes. He left her alone.
She ripped the earbuds from her ears and staggered to the mouth of the alley, looking around the neighborhood with wide, terrified eyes. The sun was sinking lower and lower with each passing second. It wasn't long before the streetlights blinked on, lengthening the foreboding shadows in the nooks and crannies of this empty street.
How could he have left her? He wouldn't, he just wouldn't. Maybe, he just moved. Maybe, he needed to jump into the vortex for some repair and had missed his landing spot by a street or two.
Her feet twitched into action before she made the conscious choice to move. She sprinted through the next three streets, searching down every alley. With each empty one, fear settled deeper into heart, constricting the organ in a death grip. Spots began to bloom in front of her vision and Rose, at last, gave into her body's fatigue. She leaned against the brick of a nearby building, letting the cool stone ease her feverish skin as she tried to come to terms with what was happening. He was gone. They had left her.
A hole in her chest was opening up with raw jagged edges that oozed with fresh torment. A gasping sob escaped her lips, but she drew in and held a deep breath, desperate to fight down her grief. After all, she had Jack. She could stay with him and live another half-life on this Earth, like she had in the other universe, but the thought of returning to that numbness and sorrow was more than she could bear. The weight of her grief pulled her down to the ground. She curled in on herself, her chest shuddering with suppressed sobs. A choked cry worked its way up her throat and Rose had to bite down on her tongue to keep it from escaping. She couldn't let it free now. If she started crying, she might never stop.
Rose cradled her head in her hands, startling at the feel of cool metal against her skin. She looked down at the ring on her finger in shock. The telepathic dampener; it was cutting off her connection to the TARDIS. She ripped it from her finger and shoved it into her pocket, sighing in relief as her connection to the TARDIS flared to life. Choking back a sob, Rose walked her hands up the wall at her back until she was standing. She felt a gentle mental tug, drawing her home, and, as she resumed her punishing pace, the muscles in her calves screamed in protest. She skipped the next two alleys and, as she turned the corner into the last one, she almost fell to her knees in gratitude. The warm glow from the TARDIS windows seemed to brighten in welcome as she stumbled closer. Rose doubled over, resting her hands on her knees as she tried to slow her frantic breathing. She reached out and rested one palm against the blue doors. A soft wave of comfort breezed into her mind and the tenuous control that Rose had on her emotions snapped.
Huge gasping sobs tore through her body, the aching exhalations leaving her throat sore. Tears were pouring from her eyes and dripping from the tip of her nose. Rose's face heated and swelled with the force of her weeping but she couldn't stop. Whatever was bubbling up from the box where she locked away her emotions refused to stay hidden any longer. Stable? She was kidding herself. There was nothing stable about this. She was spewing out her agony for all the world to see and hear. It should embarrass her but all she could manage was relief.
It had been two days since the Doctor rejected her, since he said that he didn't need her (as if she ever really believed he did). Despite his apologies and insistence to the contrary, his sharp words had left wounds. Rose had tried to be strong, to push all of her anguish into deep dark corner of her mind but keeping all of that angst balled up inside of her was twisting her into knots. So, she allowed it to pour out of her until her eyes were puffy and her throat was aching.
It was the TARDIS' wave of concern that at last made awareness filter into her mind. She was bawling in the middle of an alley and if she continued on with this shameless display, someone might notice her. Rose sucked in a deep breath and released it on a shaky exhale. She wiped her hands over her face, using the sweat and tears to slick back the errant strands of hair that had escaped her ponytail. She straightened on trembling legs and patted the wooden doors.
"Sorry Old Girl," she choked out. "I thought you had left me."
A warm reassurance filled her as she ran her fingers around the edges of the lock. The doors clicked open beneath her fingers and she smiled. She didn't even need her key. She stepped through and leaned heavily against them, sucking in a huge lungful of sweet cool air. The scent of home hit her nose and her body almost went limp. A blessed numbness was starting to overtake her after her emotional outburst. So deep was it reaching that she almost forgot the source of her frustration.
A muffled crash made her jump, scratching across her nerves like nails on a chalkboard. The Doctor's head poked up from the other side of the console and her throat clenched around a whimper.
His brow furrowed with concern as he took in her disheveled appearance. "Rose? Are you alr-"
"Did you move," she interrupted.
The Doctor had started to circle the console, but her question brought him up short. "What?"
"The TARDIS, did you move her?"
Rose ran her hand across her brow. "I must have been turned around."
"What do you mean? What have you been doing? Why are you breathing so hard?"
She pushed off of the doors and rolled her neck as she crossed the distance to the console. "I went for a run."
"Run," he asked with a look of distaste. "What for? We run all the time."
She took a deep breath. "No, you run all the time. I've been stuck in Frankenstein's basement for the last two years. I'm out of practice and I don't want to slow you down."
The accusation in her tone was obvious and a tense silence stretched between them…well, not complete silence. Finally, the song echoing through the room registered in her ears as the aching chords of Keane.
We might as well be strangers…strangers…for all I know of you now.
Her breathing hitched and the Doctor noticed. He reached over and hit a button on the console, cutting off the melody. He rubbed at the back of his neck. "Sorry."
She cleared her throat, shaking her head. "It's fine. I get it. She's connected to you and you feel like…well, I think the implications are clear."
Rose wanted to get out of this room. She could feel the pricking of tears behind her eyes again and sighed, knowing that the numbness never stayed for long. His presence seemed to bring out that kind of confliction in her. She was so angry with him but being this close to him only made her want to draw closer in spite of it. She was just another piece of space junk caught in his gravity, ready and willing to burn herself to ash in his atmosphere. It seemed that it was her fate to tear herself apart for him, to become whatever he needed her to be.
Because just being herself wasn't good enough.
The Doctor's brow pinched, and he swallowed hard. "Rose."
She looked down at her ringless finger, understanding that he had heard this last thought. Groaning in frustration, Rose dug the heels of her palms into her eyes. "Goddammit! I'm sorry."
"It's fine. But if it bothers you," he began, cautiously. "Then why don't you wear the dampener."
Irritation burned in her gut and she turned a glare on him. "Why don't you wear it, then? If it's such a perfect fucking solution! Cut yourself off from, not just me, but the TARDIS too. What am I supposed to do? Wear this stupid fucking thing for the rest of my life," she asked, digging the ring out of her pocket and throwing it to the floor. "I won't do it. I hate it. It's stifling and uncomfortable and I won't wear it."
The Doctor's eyes softened. "Rose, I understand but-"
"No! You don't understand," she shouted, her voice faltering. "I couldn't find her. I got turned around in the city and I couldn't find the TARDIS. I thought…" She sniffled, wiping at the tears falling on her cheeks. "I thought you had left me. That's why m'not wearing it. I couldn't find my way home." She turned to walk from the room but paused at the entrance to the corridor and whipped around to face his pained expression. "You know, the only reason that you feel like we're strangers now is because you push me away."
She turned and strode from the console room with long purposeful strides, holding her shoulders back. She was nursing her pride and an aching heart, but she was determined to not let him see how much she hurt even as the song from the console room seemed to follow her down the hall.
For all I know of you now…for all I know of you now…for all I know.
He felt like he didn't know her anymore? What was she supposed to do with that? It wasn't like he had actually tried to know her. He had been avoiding her for two days. Of course, she felt like a stranger. The only time that they had spoken was when he reminded her to keep the telepathic dampener on; like having her in his head was such a fucking chore. She tried to swallow down the ache in her throat, letting an angry tear slip free as she approached her door, but the tell-tell squeak of the Doctors trainers against the floor had her whipping around.
"Rose wait," he called, coming to a stop in front of her. His eyes flitted all over her and his face fell in devastation.
She remembered that she was crying and wiped the moisture off her cheeks. "What?"
The Doctor reached out for her but, before he had breached the careful distance that he maintained between them, his hands dropped back to his side. He shoved them in his pockets and swallowed, scuffing the toe of his trainer against the floor as they descended into uncomfortable silence.
"Was there something you wanted," she asked, raising a brow.
The Doctor shifted on his feet but remained quiet.
"No? Okay then," she stated. "I'm taking a shower."
She moved to the door, but he reached out and grabbed her hand, turning her back toward him. "Wait."
"Wait for what? You haven't said anything. What am I waiting for?"
"I'm sorry." He looked down at their linked hands and brushed his thumb across her ring finger. "I'm sorry that I made you wear that thing. I'm sorry that you couldn't find your way home. And I'm sorry that you're still afraid that I might leave you behind. I know that I haven't inspired a lot trust in that area."
"You're track record is terrible," she agreed.
The Doctor stepped closer, cupping her cheek in his hand. "I know, I know but Rose, I'm not going to leave you behind. The TARDIS is your home. She's not going anywhere without you."
Her lip trembled and she had to look away from his tender gaze. "I thought, because you've been avoiding me the last couple days…."
"I have. I know," he admitted, dropping her hand and slipping his arm around her waist instead. "But…"
Rose rested her hands on his chest, leaning into him. "But?"
The Doctor sighed and breached the few inches that remained between them to rest his brow against hers. She sucked in a sharp breath as he opened up to her, bathing her mind in comfort, soft affection, and a tinge of regret. Her fingers curled around the lapels of his jacket as she pushed up onto her toes, eager to be closer to him. She wanted to press her body to his, wanted to feel his touch against every inch of her feverish skin. She wanted his kiss, knowing that it would taste sweet and crisp, like a glass of cool water. The Doctor released a breathy moan and leaned forward to capture her lips. Rose groaned into his mouth and her eyes fell shut. Their tongues tangled together as her questing fingers slid up his chest and curled into the silky strands of his hair. His hands slipped up her rib cage, thumbs brushing just underneath her breasts. Rose whimpered and he broke the kiss with a soft pop.
She blew out a shaky breath and her eyes fluttered open. "You are so confusing."
"Gods I know, and it's not fair to you," he replied, just as breathless. "I always start out with the best intentions. I wanted to apologize, make sure you were okay, and yet, I end up wrapped around you, kissing you like I'm trying breathe for you."
"I think you did," she said with a small smile.
He chuckled; eyes still glazed from their kiss. "I can't seem to stop touching you. Every time I see you, it feels like I have to."
"I love it when you touch me. I love it when you're wrapped around me, I love," she trailed off. "Is there a reason that we're not doing this all the time?"
The Doctor gave her wry smile. "Haven't we already had this conversation?"
She scoffed. "Yeah, I guess but now you're kissing me in corridors. Maybe it's just me but this feels right. It feels like belonging and safety and home and…" she trailed off, searching his pained expression for any sign of acceptance but, no. It appeared that he was going to remain stubborn. She stepped out of his embrace.
His arms fell to his sides, hands clenching with tension. "Rose I-"
"Please stop," she interrupted with gentle reproach. "I really don't need to hear it again, okay? I get it. There's no changing your mind." She swallowed hard, turning back to the door. "I'm just going to wash my humiliation away."
"Have supper with me," the Doctor blurted out from behind her.
She whipped around with a raised brow. "What?"
He cleared his throat and scratched his fingers through the hair at the back of his neck. "Welll, Jack's with Ianto tonight. I don't expect him back any time soon. It's just us and I was hoping that you would have supper with me. My treat."
Rose barked out a laugh. "Oh, you're going to pay for once?"
"Oi! I've paid."
"Really? 'Cause I'm pretty sure you still owe me ten quid."
"I've taken you to the most beautiful and incredible places in the universe," he argued. "You think that would cover a few measly rounds of chips."
"You've also taken me to some of the deepest, darkest, dungeons," she pointed out. "So, wanna try again?" Rose arched a perfect brow, a smile lifting the edges of her lips.
"Okay, okay. So, I'm a little behind in the reciprocation department. No time like the present to remedy that situation. Whaddya say?"
Her eyes narrowed.
"And then afterwards," he added. "We can get started on your telepathy training."
Her hand drifted up to her mouth, where she nibbled on her thumb nail. "Really? Why? You didn't seem that eager to spend time with me."
"Honestly," he sighed. "I miss you, Rose. What good is having you back if I never get to see you? I just…I miss my best mate."
"I miss mine, too," she replied, biting her lip to keep it from trembling.
"So, is that a yes," he asked.
Rose sized him up. He seemed so relaxed, so carefully relaxed, but as her eyes continued to study him, the façade began to crack. His hands in his pockets curled into fists as he rocked onto his toes and, if she wasn't mistaken, he was holding his breath.
Her heart fluttered. "Throw in a bottle of wine and I'll be there."
"A good one."
His face contorted in mock outrage. "What do you take me for, Rose Tyler? As if I'd offer you anything but the best."
A matching goofy grin lit his face. "I'll see you in the library in an hour?"
"Any requests? Chips?"
"Nah," she replied with a shake of her head. "I think I've had chips at almost every meal since we got here. I have a cravin' for some pad Thai, though."
"Your wish is my command," he said with a bow. "I'll just pop to Thailand and…"
"What I mean is," she continued, ducking his alarmed gaze. "We left Jack before and I don't want to do it again, even by accident. Please? He said there was a restaurant a few streets over. I passed it on my run."
The tension rolled out his shoulders. "If you insist."
He gave a long-suffering sigh and leaned against the doorjamb with that intolerable sexy smirk lifting the corner of his mouth. "Then I guess I could take the domestic approach…just this once."
His last words were said in such a low whisper that it sent a shiver coursing from her head to her feet. Rose licked her lips, meeting his dark eyes. "Thank you." Tension crackled between them with an energy that left her tingling. She cleared her dry throat. "Well, I'm just gonna…" She motioned into her room.
He straightened. "Right. Brilliant. Molto bene. See you in the library?"
She nodded and slipped inside, closing the door behind her.
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