by yumimum [Reviews - 1]

  • All Ages
  • None
  • Angst, Het, Hurt/Comfort, Romance

Author's Notes:
Well, it broke my heart to have to write my beloved Nine's regeneration, but it had to be done. Don't worry though, there are still plenty of Nine/Rose and Ten/Rose fics left in this 'verse.

Centuries of existence–nine hundred plus years of Time and Space, and this is how it ends. Not with a bang, but with a deafening chorus of metallic psychosis. Humanity, condemned by his weakness–billions reduced to nothing but serviceable cells, harvested, nurtured, perverted into the mindless killing machines before him.

Fear had a stranglehold on his hearts, nausea churned throughout his stomach, yet knowing his two greatest loves had been spared this horrendous fate offered some small measure of solace. Coward or killer? Which one was he? Could he do it? Another race ended at his hand. No. Of course not. Not again, But he’d kept his promise–he’d sent her home, back to her mother–and even if the act itself inspired depths of despair not unlike the Time War itself, the Doctor knew it had been worth it.

She was safe.

Rose Tyler.

His best friend–his lover–the woman who’d stolen his hearts.

Resourceful and brave, compassionate and capable, she’d smashed right through his defences, seen through his masks–well, all but one, and now–

“You are the Heathen. You will be exterminated.”

–now she was back.

Impossible, ephemeral, she commanded the stage–an avenging angel bathed in unfathomable power–a self-fulfilling prophecy, destined from the word, run. But how could he have known? There were hints, yes–glimpses of a bigger picture–but nothing to suggest the big bad wolf snapping at their heels, howling at the TARDIS door, was none other than his companion herself.

Abomination? No, this was beauty personified.

“I want you safe, my Doctor. Protected from the false God.”

All hope for denial was lost in the face of such grim reality, and the Time Lord gazed upon her in awe, brought to his knees by his goddess incarnate.

“Everything must come to dust... all things. Everything dies.”

With each passing second he felt her life’s essence slipping away, and the Doctor hung his head in defeat, cursing her stubbornness as their enemies turned to dust–cursing his people as the Time War finally ended, and above all, cursing himself for not being there when it mattered.

This life was no fairy-tale–there were no happily-ever-after’s in their future–and he’d been a fool to hope otherwise. Wishful thinking, that’s all it was. She’d promised him forever, and despite his rules, despite his logic, despite everything he’d ever read or witnessed with his own two eyes, he’d dared to believe. In her–in them–in that lone shimmering Time Line that promised him the impossible, but never the means to make it so.

Rose Tyler was the dream who’d spurred a man’s reinvention, a divine balm and a devilish torment, and now, as cold, relentless panic encroached from all sides, the Doctor slammed his eyes shut, lamenting his inevitable loss. Before long the Vortex would consume her–ravish her fragile human body–burn through her mind, and it was all he could do to keep from screaming.

Helpless, his future unfolded before him–bleak, empty, alone–and whatever agonies he’d suffered in the past paled in significance to the excruciating torment that lanced through him now. Failure, his mind hissed as the dalek fleet was reduced to mere particles. Coward, it echoed as an achingly familiar presence warped the very fabric of time itself.

“The power's gonna kill you and it's my fault.”

“I can see everything. All that is... all that was... all that ever could be.”

Heartfelt words from a Downing Street conference room ricocheted through his mind.

I could save the world, but lose you.

Only now, she was his world, his everything, and surging to his feet the Doctor closed the gap between them. “That's what I see. All the time. And doesn't it drive you mad?”

“My head...”

The fear in her voice damn near crippled him. “Come here.”

“... it's killing me...”

Self-preservation lost all meaning, and caution fell by the roadside as the shadows of loss extinguished the light of countless tomorrows. For eons he’d considered his pedigree a curse–some cruel cosmic joke forcing him to watch those he cared about wither and die before him–but not anymore… now he saw it as an opportunity. A chance for redemption. The means to save the woman he loved. Yes, it was irrational, certainly it was unwise, but the Doctor cherished this woman with every fibre of his being, and he couldn't–wouldn’t–give her up.

“I think you need a Doctor.”

With the blessing of her lips his fate was sealed, her name a whispered prayer, an unending promise of devotion as their bond flared to life. Again, the Time Lines stretched out before them, and the Doctor chased down that one elusive strand, mesmerised by the undulating dance of gold and silver–unable to accept its mocking existence as Rose slumped unconscious against his chest.

This body had been born of death and despair, the new him would be conceived by love–in love– and able to love, completely, utterly, and without reservation. Maybe he’d be younger, prettier. Maybe he’d be ginger? Nevertheless, the time had come to say goodbye. Already she was stirring, and despite the heavy tread of Jack’s footsteps in the corridor beyond, the Doctor forced a smile, his gaze trained stoically on the source of his salvation.

They say that life flashes before your eyes in moments such as these, and as the fires of regeneration consumed him, the Doctor found that in nine hundred years her face was the only thing he wanted to see.

His hope.

His hearts.

His Rose.