AU (ELEVEN/ROSE) | After Amy & Rory are gone, the TARDIS takes her Doctor where he needs to go, to heal.
The TARDIS was empty now. There were no footsteps in the corridor, no laughter echoing over the brilliant orange walls. Amy and Rory were gone, long gone, forever gone. Living a life without him. There was no one to yell at, no one to hear him yelling, but he yelled anyway. Kicking the side of the console as he slammed on a button, the Doctor shouted at the TARDIS, even as his other hand smoothed over the curve of a lever. “This isn’t where we’re meant to go!” He growled in frustration but then seconds later his voice was a low murmur, “Come on, old girl, where are you taking me?” As if in answer, the TARDIS made his favourite noise; the brilliant noise, the stopping noise, the open my doors and come see what I’ve brought you noise. He loved that noise.
He figured it out the moment he opened the door. No need to sniff the air or get a taste of anything to find out, because there she was, walking down the street in front of him. His eyes were drawn to him in an instant, as if she were magnetic. “It can’t be…” Because it was impossible for him to be in this dimension, her dimension, and yet… there she was. Her hips were fuller (hugged by the denims she wore), her hair darker and longer (swaying against her back as she walked) but it was still her. His Rose. She must have turned when she heard the noise, even after all that time, a part of her still knew that sound. There was a hint of a light in his dark and weary eyes as his gaze followed the curve of her cheek, the fullness of her lips. Somewhere deep inside (in that corner of his heart all filled up with pink and yellow and the scent of strawberries) he willed her to see him, willed her to notice. Whether it was the people between them or the distance or something else, he didn’t know, but she didn’t seem to see him. Maybe she thought she was imagining it. Maybe she heard the TARDIS sound in her dreams and thought it had only slipped into reality. Maybe.
“We shouldn’t be here.” He murmured the words both to himself and to the TARDIS, and yet still he found himself slowly moving. As if he were going to step out the doors and close it behind him, make his way down the street, call out her name… Would she know who he was? Would she recognize him (that knowing light in her warm hazel eyes, that shy but clever smile flickering at the corners of her lips), even with this daft new face? Would she know he was the same man, still her doctor?
Oh, but he wasn’t her doctor. She had her doctor, her human doctor. She had a life and she was happy. All he brought with him was misery and danger and risk, and his Rose, she didn’t deserve that.
(Or maybe he didn’t deserve her.)
The TARDIS had told him once, that glorious day when she could speak, that she always brought him where he needed to go. As he stepped back inside the TARDIS (one last glance at her as she walked away) and closed the door behind him (a flash of blonde hair through the crack in the doors and then nothing), he wondered if maybe she didn’t always know.
He adjusted the brakes, he twirling a knob, he pulled a lever, and the TARDIS began to fade.
The thought flashed through his head like a flicker of light through the darkness. Maybe she did know where he needed to go.
He just wasn’t ready.