He had meant to be impressive. That had been the point of all this–he’s nearly certain–showing her just how impressive he could be.
Well. Bollocksed that one up.
Although, in retrospect, he wondered how he had expected her to react. Taking a girl to see her planet destroyed? Really?
This is what happens when he takes hold of something as bright as Rose Tyler’s smile. It gets ripped apart by cruelty and greed and forces beyond his control, broken into a million little pieces flying away into empty space like the planet she’s crying over, and he just can’t do this anymore.
He should take her home. Scratch that–he should take her somewhere safe and pretty, buy her a little alien necklace as a souvenir, and then take her home.
He thinks she will accept his choice, see it for what it is.
(She will be so much better off without him.)
He crosses the room, stands beside her at the window.
“The end of the Earth,” she says plaintively. “It’s gone.”
Gone. Torn to pieces and burnt to the ground in flames that rise up higher than mountain ranges. No more home, no more family. Lost, forever.
But not for her. This, at least, is something that he can fix.
He wants to open his mouth to tell her something comforting, that this will all be just a bad dream and it will be over soon, but the words don’t come.
“And we were too busy saving ourselves–no one saw it go.”
This catches his attention. He glances at her, but her face is heart-wrenching, and he has to turn away.
“All those years, all that history, and no one was even looking.”
It takes him a moment to process, because that really wasn’t what he was expecting. She isn’t mourning the loss of the Earth–well, yes, she is, but there’s a difference–her tears aren’t just for her own terror or the destruction of her planet. Her heart is breaking because no one was there to see; no one who had loved this world had been there to stand witness as it died.
As he had done for Gallifrey.
It’s a shock, realizing that she’s right. There is value in that distinction, and it matters that someone survives, someone who loved and lost and mourned. Someone who will always remember. That is what gives purpose to all that empty space, those great forces of gravity and momentum and fusion and time.
Creation, existence, destruction–all meaningful, but only when they are being observed.
He turns to look at her, this beautiful human girl who makes sense out of chaos, who just by watching creates grace out of destruction. The terrible light of a broken sun is reformed in her eyes.
He offers his hand. “Come with me.”
They will go back to her time and her world, let her see all the people and cars and sky. Then he’ll give her the choice once more–to stay at home or stay with him.
But he thinks that she will understand what he’s offering; at least, he hopes that she will.
He can think of so many moments in time that will be the better for having been seen by Rose Tyler’s eyes.