Title: Laughing at Stars Part 1, chapter 1/5
Character/Paring: Nine/Rose, Ten/Rose
Beta Team: achuislemochroi annissag hidden_n_hot milieva oobiemcruby royalladyemma
Setting: S2 post AoS
Summary: This is the Doctor and Rose's journey together as they grow from friendship to something more. Can they overcome their separate fears to find a common ground?
Disclaimer: Based on characters owned and created by BBC. No infringement intended.
Let the tigers come with their claws...
Rose glowed like a goddess where she stood above him. She was a wonder to behold but he could take no joy in it. She was also dying right in of front him. A thousand threads of possibility flickered around her as her life dangled on a precipice.
"The sun and the moon... the day and night." Rose marvelled. "But why do they hurt?"
The Doctor hung his head in despair. "The power's gonna kill you and it's my fault." He watched as a tear traced down her cheek.
"I can see everything. All that is... all that was... all that ever could be."
One of the Doctor's hearts stopped for a moment. Suddenly he knew what he had to do. All doubt suddenly cleared from his mind. He stood, resolute, ready to face whatever came.
"That's what I see. All the time. And doesn't it drive you mad?"
"My head," she whimpered. "It's killing me — "
He took her hands. "Come here. I think you need a Doctor."
Somewhere a planet burned. Will burn. Is burning now. A people are dead, dying, doomed to die. The temporal triality made even his mind ache. All things are, will be and have been. The burning will never end. Especially within himself.
He saw it in his dreams and when he closed his eyes. His choice, his actions. Cause and effect. Time lines converging, tearing, merging, and dying. A universe convulsing in the throes of life and death. Whether it was birth, rebirth, or the spiralling cycle of death and unmaking, even his Time Lord senses could not determine which. It was too much, too big. Even for him. Even for them. The Time Lords simply ran out of time. Dramatic irony or perhaps just karma on a cosmic scale. The price of their great hubris; their belief that they could control it all. And he – perhaps, of all of them, the most guilty of that particular sin – left alone to bear witness to it all. Mercy or judgment; or, perhaps, a little of both.
This time he welcomed the burn of living time as he coaxed the reluctant piece of his ship's heart to leave Rose and make itself whole again. Perhaps, if he was very lucky, he would burn out like a star and not even regenerate. No new man walking away this time. He'd still have enough time to make one last trip to London...
Bit by bit, he separated the two souls who had merged out of misguided love for him. But, just as he was about to breathe a sigh of relief and break the kiss, (a not-strictly-necessary indulgence on his part) someone, whether ship or companion he could not tell, grabbed hold of the trailing wisps of his consciousness and dragged him under.
Live, it whispered. Live, for me.