Ever since she had gone, he'd seen the world through Rose-colored glasses.
"Rose would've seen it," he found himself saying. But, no, this was Martha; Martha was brilliant, wasn't she? Martha was kind, and smart. Martha was one-of-a-kind!
But she wasn't Rose.
Even now, he looked at Donna-wonderful, sassy, magnificent Donna!-and he saw her. The way she'd roll her eyes, the mischievous glint when he said "don't wander off."
Later, much later, he'd straighten his bowtie and say "Come along, Pond!" and dance around the console, trying to ignore the flash of blonde hair he'd imagined he'd seen out of the corner of his eye. She's gone, he'd tell himself. She's gone, she's with her family, and she's not coming back.
It had been so long since he'd truly seen her face, he could almost pretend he was forgetting her. "Forget!" he tried telling himself one night after Clara had fallen asleep. "Forget, forget!" Maybe, if he said the word enough, he would.
But that would never happen. It was a ridiculous notion.
A Time Lord never forgets.