Auld Lange Syne
A light snow covered the ground. The bright lights of the city shone high as people milled all about. The pubs were packed. Shouts and scuffles heard as men fought in the alley. Women yelling at their men. It was your typical New Year’s Eve.
The Doctor pulled his coat closer as a cold wind hit him. He internally cursed himself for not wearing gloves. He crossed the street, eyes scanning quickly. He tuned out almost all of the noises of the busy city as it counted down the seconds to the New Year. He had a destination in mind and he was going to get there.
A woman bustled out of the nearby bar, tripping over her own feet. The Doctor caught her before she fell. Standing her up, he could smell the whiskey on her. And it was vile.
“Thank you sugar,” she purred. She ran her hand down his arm. “Ooh, firm. You must work out, or else how could you catch a tiny thing like me?”
The Doctor had to physically stop himself from rolling his eyes. Gently stepping out of her reach, he tipped his hat towards her.
“Thank you, ma’am,” he said. “I really must go, I have a friend to meet.”
She lunged for his hand. “I will be your friend,” she drawled. Her whiskey breath made him scowl.
He shook his head. “I’m sorry miss. I am already taken.”
She looked down at his left hand. “No ring,” she said.
“Never said married, ma’am.”
“Then you’re fair game,” she pushed herself against him.
He stepped back, holding her at arm’s length. “Taken and not interested,” he said quietly.
She huffed and puffed out her cheeks. Then she stormed back into the bar. The Doctor chuckled.
Pulling his coat closer once again, he continued on his trek. He could feel himself getting closer to her with every step. She called to him, even if she was unaware of it. Like a siren. And he was helpless to stop it. Not that he wanted to.
Turning the corner, he stopped. There she was; he would recognize that blond hair anywhere. She was thinner than he remembered, but still very much his Rose.
Still so beautiful.
She was wearing a red coat with matching gloves, a white scarf and hat framing her face. She was smiling and laughing with a group of friends. He smiled watching her. He had always loved her laugh.
As though she sensed something, her head turned. She locked eyes with his. He smiled warmly at her. Recognition dawned in her orbs. Excusing herself from the group, she slowly approached him. Her cinnamon eyes were kind.
She tilted her head to the side. “Doctor?”
His eyes grew wide. “I regenerated. How….”
She giggled. “I would know you anywhere. That and that feeling I get whenever you’re near.”
She feels it too?
He decided to try it, to see if she would remember.
“What year is this?” he asked her.
Her eyes widened for a moment and then she smiled.
“Two-thousand nineteen, December thirty-first.”
“I bet you’re going to have a really great year,” he said.
The Doctor nodded. “Yeah.”
She felt him coming to her.
He smiled again. His green eyes sparkled.
“You look beautiful,” he said. She blushed and looked down.
I love that blush.
“Why are you here?” she asked quietly.
“I wanted to see you, Rose.”
Glancing up at him through her lashes, she paused. Seeing her that way went straight south. He had to reign in his traitorous thoughts. But not before an image of her on her knees before him, looking up at him with those big, beautiful cinnamon eyes as her gorgeous mouth wrapped around his---
The Doctor snapped out of his fantasy and shook his head. She raised an eyebrow.
He shrugged. “Because I never stopped loving you.”
I can tell her that now.
She drew in a breath.
“Is that the truth?”
He nodded. “I was a bit stubborn in my old body. I was scared of telling you how I felt because I knew I would lose you eventually. But I should have told you regardless and I live with that regret every day. You should not have had to live your life in this alternate universe not truly knowing.”
“Why now, though? Why years later?”
He looked down. “Why not?” he asked.
“You love me?”
The Doctor nodded. “Rose Tyler, I love you,” he said quietly to not break the spell that had formed around them. He chanced a glance at her.
Her cinnamon eyes bore into his green eyes. Then she smiled, a beautifully glorious smile.
“I believe you.”
He let out the breath he had been holding. Holding out his hand, she took it without hesitation. They began to walk. The feeling he always had when holding her hand was back, increased because of how much he missed her.
“Tell me how your life has been here. Were you happy?” he turned his gaze on her.
She shrugged. “It’s been okay. Not like the adventures we went on that I loved. Mum is raising Tony; he’s twelve now.” She was silent for a minute.
“How about you, Doctor?”
He sighed and squeezed her hand. “I’ve been travelling with some very nice people, the Ponds. But it’s only part time. They of course have a life and want to live it.” He stopped and looked at her.
“That’s why I left; I wanted you to have a life.”
Rose looked sad. “The life I wanted was with you.”
“I know,” he said quietly. “And I will always regret not doing more to keep you with me. Not listening to you when I should have.”
She smiled. They watched the New Year’s crowd for a bit in silence.
The snow still fell gently. London looked beautiful. The Doctor turned his green-eyed gaze on Rose.
“What?” she asked.
“I just wanted to look at something beautiful.”
She blushed and gave him one of her tongue-in-teeth smiles.
Again, traitorous thoughts entered his head. He swallowed to force them down.
Now is not the time!
Big Ben chimed 11:55; almost time for the New Year to start. The Doctor squeezed her hand.
“What happened that you regenerated?” she asked quietly.
“Radiation,” he replied.
He nodded. Then he stopped and pulled her close to him, holding her gloved hands in his.
“I had to save the world. I did; and that was the price.”
She looked down at their joined hands.
“So different, yet still the same,” she said as she ran her thumb over his knuckles.
A shiver went through him, one not caused by the cold.
“I can get used to it,” she said smiling. He smiled back at her.
They just looked into each other’s eyes for a while, not wanting to break the spell they had continued to find themselves in. The snow fell gently on her hair, making her glow.
The Doctor didn’t realize he was being drawn in to her like a magnet until his lips met hers. She gasped but didn’t pull away. He kissed her gently, never wanting it to end.
The clock struck midnight.
Pulling her closer, he tilted her head giving himself better access. She moaned gently and pulled on his hair, earning a growl from him.
Kissing her through two decades.
He knew it would never be enough. Ever since he left her in this alternate world, he had missed her terribly every day. And the occasional times he peeked in on her, he always felt guilty. He wanted nothing more than to have her in the TARDIS with him. Forever.
The kiss broke and he rested his forehead on hers. Holding her tightly, he knew he would never let her go again. He couldn’t.
“Come with me?”
She nodded against his forehead. He smiled and kissed her again.
Same Doctor, new face. His lips were just as soft as the other two that she knew and she never wanted to stop. She felt his hearts beat against hers, in time with one another.
Always my Doctor, she thought.
“Happy New Year, Doctor.”
“Happy New Year, Rose.”