“Long way from home,” Rose said solemnly. The Doctor eyed her carefully, frowning internally at her uncharacteristic smile. He hated it when she frowned. Especially when it’s my fault, he thought. The light that radiated off of the far away explosions cast soft shadows on her face, highlighting the creases that her face made when she frowned. He sighed to himself and looked out the window with her, bumping her arm and pointing at the distant sky.
“Go that way, turn right and travel for about,” he paused, clicking his tongue in thought, “500 years and you’ll reach earth.” He turned to face her with a grin, hoping that she’d find it more interesting than unhelpful. It clearly did the latter, and he frowned as she looked at her shoes, her white sneakers kicking against the grated floor. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone, flipping it open and looked over the screen silently. He felt his eyebrows knit together as he kicked himself mentally for saying that. Not helping, idiot, he scolded himself.
“No signal. That’s a first.” She muttered, biting her lip in thought. The Doctor’s eyes flitted over her lips, swallowing sharply. She always did that when she was thinking. The Doctor remembered paying attention to that a lot in his previous generation, and it had taken him a rather long while to realize that he was attracted to it. He had inwardly hoped that he would not carry that attraction to his next form but he was so very wrong. She had looked so beautiful that Christmas night as she held his hand gently and looked up at the distant stars, ash catching in her blonde hair. He knew that he was done for when her eyes lit up at the prospect of a new adventure, and by Rassilion he fell deeper into her every day after that.
Maybe this will give me an excuse to… he blanched at himself. How could he use this as a reason to be with her? What kind of sick excuse is that? I stranded her here. This is my fault. This is… his eyes swept down her face, sadness gripping his hearts. How beautiful she looked, despite her morose expression.
You terrible, terrible man, he thought scathingly.
He forced himself to look back up at the black hole, finding no comfort from the deep blackness that dotted the sky out like a stain. He heard Rose snap her phone shut and let out a defeated sigh. “I don’t know what I would say even if I could call,” her voice was tight, and the Doctor hoped that she wouldn’t cry. On the things he hated the most, seeing Rose Tyler cry was near the very top of his list.
Especially when that’s also my fault! he thought darkly to himself.
She sniffed and looked up from her shoes and at him. He could feel the sadness and hopelessness in her gaze, yet he met it evenly. “I don’t suppose you could--“ she cut off, her mouth open as if she was reconsidering what she was saying. She closed her mouth with a snap and frowned. “I don’t suppose you could like, build another TARDIS, could you?” she said, her tongue poking out of the corner of her teeth.
The Doctor’s chest ached at the thought of his beloved TARDIS. Ever since the earthquake, he had felt her absence in his mind, and as the hours stretched on, it felt like a part had him had fallen into the pit as well. “No,” he said quietly, looking at his hands. “No, TARDISes are grown, not built,” he sighed and sat up, tapping his fingers on the table. “Besides, with my own planet gone, well…” he looked at her and offered a small smile. “I’m afraid we’re stuck.”
Rose returned with a somber smile. “I suppose it could be worse. They did offer us a lift whenever they leave,” she motioned with her head to the door that the crew had left in, her brilliant blonde hair falling from her shoulders. The Doctor took a deep breath, watching her hair flit around her shoulders and chest, the light of the dead star causing it to almost glow.
“And then what?” he asked, leaning forward in his chair and running his hands through his hair. He heard her let out a small laugh, and he smiled inwardly at it. At least she isn’t crying, he thought to himself.
“I don’t know. We’d find a planet, get a job, live a life. Same as the rest of the universe, I suppose,” she said quietly, her eyes drifting up to the window, lost in thought.
The Doctor scrunched his nose and let out a quiet oof. That sounded absolutely abhorrent. “I’d have to settle down! Get a house. Like, a proper house with doors and windows and things.” He shook his head, his face screwed up in disgust. “And carpets! Can you imagine that, Rose? Me, living in a house?” He scoffed and leaned back in his chair, and Rose let out a short laugh, pushing her hair back from her face and settling in her chair, eyeing him. “Now, that would be truly terrifying!” he muttered, and Rose let out another bought of laughter, her eyes squinted as she smiled. The Doctor felt his eyes wander to her tongue that always poked out when she smiled.
He had always noticed that, too.
“You’d have to get a mortgage,” she said quietly in a sing-song voice. The Doctor smiled and shook his head, letting out a scoff.
“Never!” he declared, placing a fist on the table.
“Oh, yes! The great Doctor, getting a mortgage!” She laughed, her eyes twinkling. He felt his chest warm up at her smile, his eyes still darting from her lips to her eyes. He prayed to whatever god out there was listening that she didn’t notice.
“Well, I am glad my potential suffering entertains you so, Rose Tyler,” he said, giving her a look of mock hurt. She laughed quietly and looked back up at the window, biting her lip again. She paused for a moment, her eyes darting around the expanse of what was outside the window, and the Doctor felt his heart lurch when she spoke.
“Since I would need to get one, too we could just… I don’t know,” she paused, her eyes darting to him momentarily then back to the window. “We could… share one. Or something,” her voice trailed off as she adjusted in her seat, and the Doctor could tell that she was eyeing him from her peripherals. He felt his body temperature rise, and he felt his adams apple bob as he swallowed hard. She glanced over her shoulder at him and he felt himself despair over her change of expression. “Or… or not, I mean we don’t have to if–”
No, that’s not what I meant! He thought desperately. “No no no!” he said quickly, clearing his throat and tugging his ear in attempt to look casual. He knew he was failing to do so, but his pride didn’t allow him to sit there gaping. “I mean… I mean I suppose it’s not different from sharing a TARDIS,” he mused, scratching his head in thought. His expression turned sour. “Except we’d have to pay for it.” He grimaced, looking back up again at the sky.
His mind wandered to the TARDIS, and the last place they went before he stranded them there. They had gone to the planet of Tivov, where the beaches of white crystal sand stretched for miles and miles, turning purple whenever the clear blue water lapped on the shore. The trees, which stretched tall into the sky with wide, flat leaves that were at least 10 meters long, sang softly to them and provided shade from the twin suns that rotated slowly around each other throughout the day. Rose had commented how it was like they we’re dancing with each other. The Doctor was reminded in that moment why he never liked to travel alone. He would have never made that beautiful observation. As she had said that, he had looked at her for a while as she gazed out onto the quiet waters, taking in every detail of her face.
If all was perfect in the Doctor’s universe, he would have kissed her right then and there, bringing all of his desires to a peak and taking her into his arms; but instead he opted to take her hand and spin her around, swaying along with the music of the singing trees with her like the twin suns in the sky. It was a beautiful, intimate moment between them, and despite what the deep, carnal parts of him said, he wouldn’t have changed it for anything. His hearts ached at the memory, and he felt his expression melt into sorrow as he came to the realization that he would never take her on an adventure again. He would never see her face light up as she opened the doors to the TARDIS for the first time after landing, both of them geared up for a brand new adventure that was bound to end in disaster. He would never grab her hand and see her eyes sparkle as he would whisper “run”. Never again. You never deserved it. You never deserved her. He thought darkly. You lost your chance. You did this.
She will never see the life that flourishes among the stars again… she’ll be looking at the death of them instead.
She’ll never be able to go home.
“I’m so sorry, Rose,” he said, barley audible. Out of the corner of his eye she saw her head turn to face him. “I promised Jackie I’d bring you home,” he took a deep breath, forcing the tears that threatened to form in his eyes back. You failed her. You couldn’t keep her safe and you promised you’d keep her safe. He reminded himself.
He heard Rose let out a soft hum and saw her look up at the window with him. She placed her hand on top of his, her fingers curling around his and giving a reassuring squeeze. “Everyone has to leave home someday, Doctor,” she said in a reassuring voice.
“Not to end up stuck here,” he sighed, closing his eyes and taking her hand in his, returning the squeeze. But you are stuck here, he reminded himself. So what are you going to do about it?
He heard her laugh softly. “Yeah, well,” She said. “I mean, as long as I’m with you, it’s not that bad, really,” The Doctor’s hearts skipped a beat, and he snapped open his eyes and looked at her. She was staring at him with a look in her eyes so warm and comforting that it made him want to cry.
“Yeah?” he said, allowing a small smile to tug at his lips.
She returned it. “Yeah.”