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My first venture into Doctor Who fic is... somehow majorly angsty with mild fluff involved. No idea how that happened. I was really terrified to write for this fandom, but this one came surprisingly easy and I hope you enjoy it! Please let me know what you think; feedback is always appreciated. Cross-posted to ff.net.

This came from the universe in "Turn Left" where the Doctor, having never met Donna, dies during the events of "The Runaway Bride". It's implied that he chose not to regenerate, and one can assume that it's because of his grief for Rose. I decided to play with that and wonder about what his thoughts might have been, and this happened.

Hell and High Water

“Nice to meet you, Rose. Run for your life.”

Now he finds himself thinking of the words he said to her the first time they met. Four words—run for your life—that so many who have just met him don’t believe he says in earnest. Four words that signify an action he should be taking right now. But there is nothing in this world that can move him from this spot.

Nothing in this world, indeed.

It occurs to him that he should be thinking any thoughts besides the ones that are racing through his mind right now. He should be thinking of the genocide he is committing, of the water that is rushing into this room and rising higher and higher, of the screams of pain that are just barely registering with him.

He should be thinking of all these things, but instead, all he can think of is a purple jumper. Just before he’d left the TARDIS, he’d seen it—an inconsequential bit of purple fabric, slung carelessly over one of the rails, forgotten, never to be worn again, tossed aside. And though it looks as ordinary as can be, that fabric had the power to wreck him, because it makes him think of her and how she used to wear it lounging around the TARDIS, because it makes him think of how it hugged her small waist and the curves of her breasts and every bit of her that he didn’t touch but that he realizes he should have, now.

It makes him think of a memory from what feels like another lifetime ago but was really only two or so years before, in another body. On the floor of the TARDIS, he’d found something lacy that could really only be an undergarment but did not possibly have enough fabric to perform that function. He’d taken it to Rose to give to her, told her with a laugh that the TARDIS wasn’t a clothesline, and she’d made some kind of crack like, oh, he meant she wasn’t supposed to air out her delicates in a spaceship? And then she’d told him with a slightly mortified face that it was just an accident, must’ve fallen out of a pair of her trousers. Static cling or something. But he hadn’t noticed her mortification, because her saying the word delicates had just made him picture skin and lace and Rose and oh, he couldn’t go there because he just couldn’t. He was over nine hundred years old; the mention of undergarments shouldn’t have reduced him to an insensate mess, but, well, it had, because it was her.

It was her.

And as he feels the water licking at his shoes, then his ankles, a half-remembered phrase comes to him and he grasps at it until he can remember. “Had we but world enough, and time…”

A poem. The rest of it doesn’t matter, because the one line means more to him now than any poem ever could. Time, the one thing they should have, by all rights, had enough of, when one of them was a Time Lord. Time, the one thing they’d run out of.

“How long have we got?”

“About two minutes.”

Two minutes. Two minutes was all he’d been given to say good-bye to her, with no touch, no time, no way to say the words he’d wanted to, in a place called Bad Wolf Bay. He’d said good-bye to her, his Rose, the Bad Wolf, without saying the words he should have told her every day. I love you.

I love her.

I loved her.

And over his head, there is water, and in his lungs, there is no breath, and in his heart of hearts, there is nothing left, nothing to sustain him, nothing and no one he wants to live for. He has a choice, can regenerate, can live, but without her, does he want to?

He reaches out his hand, because in his final moments before the blackness creeps in, he imagines he can see her. Can imagine the feel of her hand in his, can hear the words he once said to her whispered in his ear.

“I’m so glad I met you.”

And he was.


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