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Joyride Around the Universe

Chapter Text

   This was it. The day they’d been dreading for years. Alarms sounded, Klaxon horns shrieking loudly. Tension sat heavy in the air. Her heart pounded in her chest, but also sat high in her throat as she dashed back and forth across her room. Her fingers touched on many of her possessions, but she only took those that she most needed. She didn’t have time to linger on anything. She grabbed the things she simply couldn’t live without and shoved them in her rucksack as she hurried to the next item. Did she need—no, no, she could leave it. She had to leave it.

   She reached out to him instead, tugging on their bond gently. She met a whirlwind of emotion, emotions he often claimed he was above. Anger was prominent—anger at the Council, anger at himself, at all of them for—for—grief clung to the edges of that anger. He knew what was about to happen. What had to happen. Had this been (years, decades, longer than she cared to admit, long enough that she was afraid) just months ago, when she’d started on with them, she would have broken at the feel of it. He was in agony already and they hadn’t even—they still weren’t—oh, they still had to—she slammed the thought shut along with her jewelry drawer. She wasn’t some kid anymore. She had had to go through . . . not worse than this, but horrible things. She needed to be strong for both of them. She would be.

   “We’ve landed.” A voice cut through her frenzy as her hands landed on an electronic photo album from their trip to Barcelona all those years ago. “We don’t have any more time.” She tossed the album into her rucksack, took a quick look around the room for anything else that was essential, and then she stared over at the figure in the door. Tall and statuesque, she leaned against the frame with a casual air that belied the panic they’d all fallen into less than twenty minutes ago. Her dark eyes were like flint, her mouth a firm line that pressed back against the vitriol she was always on the verge of spilling. “I told him that an ape would only bring us trouble.” It came as a snarl, bitter as poison. She snorted. Tumultuous moods had never touched her much, but even less so now.

   “You live for trouble.” She quipped. She tied the top of her bag shut and slung it over her shoulder. Heart pounding in her chest, she sprinted past her visitor and down the hall. “You’d be dead bored without it.” She called.

   The answer—barbed and fiery with barely contained rage—followed after her down the hall.

   “I’d kill you if I thought it would hurt more than remembering!” She ignored the threat. It meant nothing now.

   Two of them were in the console room when she came dashing in. They didn’t spare a moment for her. Their hands flew over buttons and keys. They flipped switches and pulled levers in a practiced dance.

   “Hey!” The shout was frantic. It made her racing heart stutter. She skidded to a stop on her way to the door. This—this was—she would never . . . She took a breath, swallowed hard. She was never going to see them again. “Hey,” her dear, dear friend glanced over at her, “we’re holding them off, but you need to go.” Their eyes locked (the last time, her mind whispered, you’ll never see them again). She bit her lip. She would never see them again. “Go,” She urged before turning back to her console.

   She gripped the straps of her bag. No one else was in the room. Just the three of them. The others had dispersed already—destroying evidence before the Council seized their ship. No big send off. No hugs or teary goodbyes. This was it. She felt him in their bond, felt the agony he was in. She’d thought he would at least be here. To say something before she left. Maybe it just hurt too much. She pushed all her love toward him as she let herself look around the room for just a moment. Take it all in. She steeled herself, gripped the straps of her bag tight, and stepped off the ship.

   Outside, London was experiencing one of its rare sunny days. The corner of Hyde park they’d landed in was quiet. The ship’s chameleon circuit had it looking like a fenced off skip bin.

   “I guess this is it.” His voice made her jump. He was standing just a few feet off, hands in his pockets. His sleeves were rolled up like they always were. Someone walking by wouldn’t notice the tension in his shoulders, the way his eyes flicked about nervously, the subtle tick in his jaw, but they’d been together for ages. She could pick up on his tells if she were blind. His fists clenched in his pockets, but he offered her a weak smile. “We had a good run, though, didn’t we?” Her throat closed. She couldn’t just leave him. The others . . . They’d never quite gotten along the way the two of them had. Too much difference. Too much self-importance and straight up bigotry to get past. Only a couple of them had ever tried past the minimal effort with her.

   “Yeah,” she finally said when she found her voice again, “we did.” She shakily reached up to push away the tears that were starting to inch down her cheeks. “The best run.” He reached out to take her hand. She ignored the offer and closed the distance to tug him into a tight embrace. Hot tears raced down her cheeks.

   “I love you.” He growled into her hair. His arms came up to wrap around her. He squeezed like he was trying to absorb her into him. “Don’t you ever forget that.” He poured it into their bond, heaping his love into her mind like he would never do it again. He wouldn’t, she knew. She opened herself to the emotion and gave back as much as she was getting.

   “I love you.” She choked out.

   “Theta!” A voice came from inside the ship. “We need to go now. Sixty seconds until they lock on our coordinates.”

   She pulled back enough to press a harsh kiss to his mouth. Then, she wrenched herself away. Their bond ached and burned. They would still feel each other, no matter what happened. Maybe, someday, he could come back and find her again. They could leave the universe behind and find a place for just the two of them, safe from the Council and the rest of his kind. She forced herself to take a step backward. Her vision blurred. She had to do this. She had to be strong.

   “I’m starting the dematerialization.” Another voice warned from inside the ship. “Get in now, or we’re leaving you.”

   He stumbled toward the door, then cast one last look back at her.

   “Be safe, love.” He said before he stepped inside and slammed the door shut.

   The TARDIS faded from existence, leaving Rose Tyler standing by herself on the park path. She waited until the faint outline of the ship disappeared from view. Their bond stretched until it threatened to break. She could still feel him, but it was as if at a distance, farther than they’d been in years. Birds sang in the trees, but the area was otherwise silent. For a moment, she stood, staring blankly at the place where her whole life had been not moments before. Then, with an agonized sob, she fell to her knees and cried.