carmilla: (Nine: enigma)
[personal profile] carmilla
SUMMARY: Rose copes as best she can.
NOTES: This is a post-ep for The Parting of the Ways, and ignores all subsequent canon.


Rose is kissing Jack again. It isn’t what she meant to do, and she has a nagging suspicion deep down that there’s something wrong about it, or at least not right, but it’s so entirely comforting to be held in his arms, to feel his soft lips pressing against hers, just this side of demanding, to breathe in the warm, spicy scent of his skin; and Rose needs comfort, these days. Plus, of course, Jack is very good at this. When he kisses her, it’s like he’s speaking to her, and it always has been; she needs no TARDIS-induced telepathy to understand exactly what he’s saying.

Hush. I understand. I’m here for you. It’s OK.

It isn’t. Not really.

~

They’d never made it to Barcelona.

Apparently, whatever Rose had done (and the Doctor still refused to explain to her exactly what that was), had erased the Daleks not only from space but from time, and as a result the universe’s timeline had to realign itself. Rose didn’t understand the details, but the consequences were obvious enough; they encountered the Reapers again in one or two areas, and in several places and time periods rifts like the one in Cardiff had opened up. It was near to one of these that they’d found Jack again, wandering around a satellite very different in its design to the Gamestation, clearly bemused but making some headway in charming its inhabitants into giving him food or a bed for the night, or preferably both. The Doctor had looked at him oddly, but Rose had run to him at once, and when he saw her he beamed, swung her around, and kissed her - Thank you. That was it. No recriminations, no ‘where have you been?’. He just came straight back to them.

He’d looked a little askance at the Doctor, but asked no questions when Rose introduced him; his knowledge of Gallifreyan biology must have been better than hers.

~

Jack doesn’t flirt with the Doctor, anymore; hasn’t touched him beyond a slightly awkward handshake when they first met (except it wasn’t a first meeting, Rose reminds herself, even though it felt like one). He keeps up the solemn air of respect that he used to produce for the other Doctor (her Doctor) only in times of crisis, and sometimes not even then. She doesn’t blame him; she can laugh with this Doctor, on occasion, but she can’t bring herself to touch him, to take his hand and remind herself all over again of what he’s not.

Jack doesn’t flirt with her in the same light-hearted way he used to either, but he touches her more than ever.

~

She remembers when he first kissed her; knows now, as she couldn’t quite bring herself to know then, that he thought it would be the last time. She remembers the odd little thrill that ran through her as he cradled her face in his hands, how it was exciting and safe at the same time. How it left her shaky and a little weak at the knees, almost on the point of tears, the simplicity of that message. I love you.

The Doctor had got exactly the same as she had. It had been a beautiful thing to watch.

~

She realises that she has Jack’s face between her hands only when she breaks the kiss, realises at the same moment exactly what she’s saying to him every time she does this.

I miss him.

He smiles a little, runs a finger gently down her cheek.

Me too.

He gathers her into his arms, and pulls her tight to him in a bone-crushing hug.

But you still have me.

She breathes him in, deeply, gratefully, because she’s glad of this, even though it’s not enough. Even though there will always be something missing.

Something nags at the back of her mind. She’s sure that her Doctor told her something, something really important, before he – left.

She’s forgotten it.
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