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In Dreams Alone [+podfic]

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We're standing on the beach again at Dårlig Ulv Stranden, face to face.

"Can I touch --?" I ask, my heart breaking for the hundredth time. I already know the answer.

"I'm still just an image," he says, eyes dark with regret. "No touch."

But I do anyway. I reach my hand up and lay it against his cheek, and this time, he's really there. Then his mouth is on mine, and for that one moment everything is right and perfect. I don't want to ever let go, but our time has already run out.

"Rose Tyler," he whispers, and he's gone.

It's not always the beach. Sometimes we're fighting Daleks or exploring the past or laughing with Captain Jack. I wake with the feeling that he's there, somewhere close by, but by the time I open my eyes, he's gone. Those are the best wakings and the worst days.

The dreams are like the TARDIS. Space and time mean nothing in them. It's just the two of us together again, me and my Doctor. The dreams reach across the Void, between his universe and mine, an impossible bridge that's gone by morning.

I tell myself the dreams are true because it's the only way I can keep going. Nothing else feels real. Mum, Dad, the baby, Mickey -- they're like shadows whispering to me from another life. The only thing that means anything is my work at Torchwood, and that's only because of the spark of hope it gives me that one day I might see him again.

I suppose this universe must have its own Doctor. How could it not and still exist? But he isn't my Doctor. If our paths ever cross, I'll be a stranger to him. Just another human. This universe never had a Rose Tyler.

I don't know if it's better or worse to keep hoping. Maybe if I could tell myself that there's no chance I'll ever see him again, I'd be able to get on with my life. He said it was impossible -- that there was no way to cross over anymore -- but he doesn't know everything, much as he pretends to. We've seen the impossible before, my Doctor and I.

If there is a way, he'll find one. Maybe the dreams are it.