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The Weight of Water, the Weight of Sand

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Every breath he’s drawing through his human lungs sounds as loud as the sea breaking on the rock-strewn beach. The water is streaming over the sand, leaking into his shoes and reflecting the sunless sky. His lungs are filling with oxygen, transferring it to his blood stream and delivering it to his single, human heart.

The sound of that solitary organ is even louder than the air or the sea.

He focusses on the painfully strong beat because he’s somewhat afraid it will suddenly cease. He’s made his offer, stuttered out wholly inadequate sounds and syllables in an attempt to articulate his hopes, and now he waits in a moment as dense and desperate as a black hole.

His body is buzzing with feeling, every sense stinging like fresh wounds affected by the salt breeze that’s tugging at his hair and clothes. He can’t stand the almost that clings to everything like the sand: almost touching, almost making eye-contact, almost getting an answer.

He drops his gaze to the sand at his feet, looking for distraction from his swirling, storming thoughts. The twisting rivulets of water making paths down the beach to the sea seem practically to form a language with their crossing, moving delicacy. His mind for all its turmoil is still intact and filled with all the dialects of the universe, yet he has no words for this beautifully perfect display of inevitability. He traces the directions of the tiny streams with his eyes as the move away from him and towards Rose, flowing around her immobile form.

The feelings that are coming with being human are nothing compared to the feelings that are coming with being human near Rose Tyler. He aches in every sense of the word. His mind knows the weight of water, the weight of sand, and he feels the whole beach pressing on his chest until he’s unsure how his lungs can continue to pull in the cold, briny air.

He doesn’t have the right words for Rose either, for the way she looks older and harder but also far more fragile, for his pervading urge to touch her skin and feel her pulse, for the challenge her eyes are screaming to the universe.

But then she asks a question out loud and directly to him, and though she’s indirectly asking much more he knows the answer she wants to hear. He shares a look with the other him and feels a stabbing, splintered joy to know that he will be the one to provide that answer.

And though it’s not enough, though it’s like using a molecule of water to demonstrate an entire ocean, though he wants to speak it in the language of the stars and the vortex and the rivulets on the beach, to encompass some small portion of its scope, he leans forward nonetheless and whispers three human words into Rose Tyler’s ear.

The ocean crashes over the rocks on the beach as she kisses him, as their bodies and mouths entwine and he finds a new language they both seem to speak with ease. He’s lost the rhythm of the breath in his lungs, and hardly notices the unfamiliarly rapid pounding of his heart. The rivulets of water make paths around the two of them as one, unrelenting in their journeys to the sea.