Rose stood on the bleak, lonely sands of Bad Wolf Bay, staring out into the water, the wind whipping her hair around her face. She'd stood here many times before, and she'd stand here many times after this. She came back here every month, just on the slightest chance that the Doctor would be able to return, or send her another message. Her mum and dad, while not entirely happy with Rose taking such regular pilgrimages, told her they understood her reasons, and her dad always came along so she wouldn't have to travel all that way by herself (her mum would have come along, too, but there was nobody who could watch Tony, and Rose wasn't about to bring a little kid along on such an important journey, even if he was her little brother). Rose wouldn't let her dad join her on the beach, though; she always ordered him to stay with the car. If, by some miracle, the Doctor did come, or message her, she didn't want anyone, not even her dad, to intrude on whatever precious moments she and the Doctor might have together.
It really wasn't fair. She'd left behind a wonderful life in her world; a life full of adventure and excitement and travel. Even her life on Earth before she'd met the Doctor hadn't been all that bad, albeit a bit dull. But here, in the parallel world, she was constantly exhausted, physically and emotionally. Fighting Cybermen and Daleks and all sorts of other nasties, and all on her home planet. Not an extra sun or a purple sky or a funny-looking tree to admire in between the endless battles and the constant running. No one there to take her hand, grin widely, and run with her.
Rose raised her hand to eye level and splayed her fingers, letting the cold wind swirl around the digits as she studied the lines in her palm and the calluses that had developed since her hand had last held the Doctor's. She could almost feel his hand in hers, his long fingers interlocking perfectly with her own, the touch of his cool alien skin seeping through her palm and sending delicious shivers up her arm. That was one of the things that was different about the man he'd left her with. The Doctor in this universe...his hand was as warm as hers. And, try as she might, she couldn't feel a thing when he held her hand, except disgust and disappointment that his hand was so bloody hot.
She had broken things off with the half-human version of him a few months ago; while the two Doctors had the same face and memories and thought patterns, they weren't the same man. It had just made things worse for her: seeing his beloved face and his bright smile, hearing his voice and the way her name rolled off his tongue like music, but knowing all the time that it wasn't him.Whenever she'd rested her head against his chest, the single beat sounded wrong, the silence between the beats deafening; empty moments of time where a second heartbeat should be.
The real Doctor may have thought she'd be good for his duplicate, and maybe she had been, but the duplicate Doctor was not good for her. When she'd informed the Doctor in this world of her decision (she refused to think of him as her Doctor; as far as she was concerned, the man with that title was lost to her forever), he'd just smiled sadly, as though he'd known it was coming, and nodded, kissing her on the forehead and whispering, "Goodbye, Rose Tyler," before walking out of the flat they'd been sharing for the past year.
That was the last she'd seen of him. She had no idea where he was now, or what he was doing. But since it was his fault she'd never see the Doctor again (the real one), Rose wasn't sure she cared.
The human Doctor had destroyed the dimension cannon after they'd returned from the real world, insisting it was far too dangerous to risk using it now that the universe had properly sealed itself off, and Rose now had no hope of seeing her beloved Time Lord ever again. Why, Doctor? she thought sadly, wrapping her arms tightly around herself. Why couldn't you stay with me? Why couldn't I come with you? I thought you loved me. I'd rather die, be really dead in the real universe, than have to live the rest of my life in this universe without you. As tears slipped, unnoticed, down her cheeks, she whispered, letting the wind carry her words out to sea, "I'd do anything to get back to you."
"Anything?" A soft voice behind her made her jump and turn around so quickly, she nearly lost her balance.
"Who the hell are you?" Rose asked angrily, steadying herself and swiping a hand across her face to get her hair out of her eyes.
"A friend," said the tall figure. Rose couldn't see his whole face, as it was shrouded by the dark cloak he wore, but she saw a pale chin poking out from under the recesses of the hood. "At least, I hope to be, Rose."
"What do you want?" She asked suspiciously, casually placing a hand at her hip, resting it on the sonic disruptor attached to her belt.
"I want to help you," said the cloaked man, waving a thin hand in a magnanimous gesture. "You're dead inside, here in this world. You want to get back to the world you truly belong in," he said. "And I can help you with that."
"You can?" said Rose, relaxing slightly, her heart starting to beat faster as the possibility of it filled her head. To be able to see the Doctor again! To hold the real him, kiss the real him; to not have to settle for that facsimile back in this world's London.
"Of course I can, Rose Tyler," the voice said softly. "I have helped many people who were in desperate or unjust situations, just like yourself. I can help you, too. And all I need from you is your agreement."