What’s written on your hand is the last thing your soulmate will say to you. That’s the fact that Rose had grown up with her whole life. She’d always looked at other people’s wrists and seen things that made sense, “oh my god, it’s you,” and, “I love you, too,” and all sorts of confessions of love, and sweet nothings whispered. So she was disappointed the first time she rolled up her sleeve once she’d learned how to read, and she simply read, “Rose Tyler.”
It was just her name. Nothing sweet, nothing meaningful, just her name. And as she grew up, she heard more and more people with normal phrases on their arms, and only minor confusion as to what their sentences meant.
Then she met the Doctor, and suddenly a whole lot more things didn’t make sense besides her wrist. She’d never seen him without his arms covered by his leather jacket and jumper, and while she’d asked about his wrist markings, he’d always avoided the question. They’d quickly move on to something else, and her remarks would be forgotten.
When he regenerated, everything changed again. She’d never seen his wrist markings, and it had been so long since they’d last talked about them that she’d nearly forgotten about it altogether. So when she and her mum had to change the Doctor out of his old clothes and into Howard’s pajamas, the sight of the circular markings on his wrist stunned her.
She looked up at her mother in shock, “Mum, what the hell is that?” she asked after they’d put on his trousers, pointing to the markings.
Jackie bent over and stared at the thing her daughter was pointing at, her eyebrows furrowing in confusion, “Well, I don’t know, love,” she replied, “Could be a soul mark. Funny sort of mark though.”
“Weirder than mine,” Rose muttered, “Wonder if his is just his name, too. Funny, he’s never talked about his. He was always so distant whenever I brought it up.”
“Well, now that you’ve seen it, maybe you could ask again,” Jackie told her, “Assuming he’s the same man. Did he tell you this was gonna happen?”
“I think he tried to,” Rose replied, staring back down at the markings on the Doctor’s wrist, “And there’s things he told me that say it must be him, but I can’t help but look at him and see how different he is… How can that be the same Doctor?”
It wasn’t the same Doctor. It was, but it wasn’t. He was a new man, which was something Rose would discover as time went on. It was also something that gave her hope that he’d finally open up about the soulmate mark on his wrist, explain to her just what those circular things meant.
But she didn’t find the time. They spent a few days on the Powell Estate, and just as they were about to leave, Jackie hunted them down, and asked them to stay for New Year’s Day. Rose was more than happy to oblige the request, and the Doctor, still cautious with their relationship after the regeneration was also content with staying the few extra days.
Rose didn’t get the chance to ask him then either, since they were remarkably busy, and it wasn’t until after they’d visited New Earth that she finally got her chance to ask him the question she’d been yearning to get an answer to for over a year. They’d just gotten back into the Tardis, and she’d started buttoning up her shirt as he sent them off into the time vortex.
The blonde looked up at him, and he grinned down at her as he pushed a button, and they were off. “Well, that was one hell of an adventure,” she commented, “Having someone inside your head…”
“Tell me about it,” the Doctor replied, moving around to her side of the console, “Are you all right?”
She nodded, taking a step forward, and crossing her arms, “I’m fine,” she replied, “It’s just…”
Rose sighed, and uncrossed her arms, leaning against the console as she spoke, “Right after you changed, and mum and I carried you into the flat, we had to change your clothes,” she explained, “I um, I noticed the markings on your wrist…”
The Doctor fidgeted nervously in front of her, “Oh, that,” he replied, “Yeah, that’s my… That’s my soul mark.”
“Why does it look like that?” Rose asked, “All the circles and stuff.”
The time lord sighed, “It’s in Gallifreyan,” he told her, “Been there all my life, even in my first regeneration.”
Rose raised her eyebrows, “Wow,” she breathed, “So what does it say?”
The Doctor stared at her, “What?” he asked.
“What does it say, Doctor?”
“I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours. Mine’s weird, though,” she said, smiling awkwardly, “‘Cause all it is is my name. Just says, ‘Rose Tyler.’ How ridiculous is that?”
“Not as ridiculous as mine,” he replied, returning the smile, but not finishing his sentence. He still wasn’t telling her what his said, he was still dancing around the subject.
She watched him in anticipation, then looked down at her feet, “Think you could tell me what it is now?” she asked, “Never said it before, always just danced around it.”
The Doctor shook his head, “‘Cause it’s ridiculous,” he replied, “I don’t think anyone could ever…”
“Don’t think anyone could ever what, Doctor?” she asked, hoping just this once he’d reveal the answer. He’d never answered questions like these before, she wasn’t sure why she thought he’d reveal the answer then.
The time lord did indeed fall silent, as she thought he would, and the blonde just nodded, and slowly took a step back. She glanced up at him to find him looking at the ground, away from her. She prepared to take another step back, when suddenly he spoke up again.
“I love you,” the Doctor said after a moment, causing her heart to skip a beat.
“What?” she squeaked, staring at him in disbelief. It was impossible for her to hear what she’d just heard. They’d always flirted, she’d always had feelings for him, and she suspected he felt the same way about her sometimes, but she knew him too well. He’d never say that out loud, much less at a random time with no warning signs whatsoever.
“My wrist,” he added quickly, holding up the aforementioned body part for emphasis, and rolling up his sleeves so she could see the circular marks adorning it, the mark only just visible in the pale green light, “It says, ‘I love you.’” The time lord let out a laugh, “Quite unlikely.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked, stepping toward him in concern, and taking his wrist in her hand, her thumb brushing lightly over the mark.
“Nothing,” he replied tritely, but physically, he relaxed into her touch, and even put a hand over hers, much to her surprise. She stared at him in a mixture of confusion and a feeling of complete ease and trust.
Rose frowned, “That doesn’t sound like nothing,” she murmured, “You just told me you thought it was ridiculous, more ridiculous than my name… Why?”
The Doctor looked up at her, and another small laugh escaped him, “Rose, I’ve done things,” he said quietly, his voice almost a whisper, “Things I’m not proud of. The time war, I told you what happened to my people…”
His companion nodded, “Yeah, you said they’re all gone,” she replied, “What’s that got to do with your mark being ridiculous? Could it only be one of them? Is it a species thing?”
The time lord chuckled, and shook his head, taking a step back from her, and running a hand through his hair as he walked about the console, “No, it’s not a species thing,” he told her, “Soul marks could be between any species.”
“Right,” she said with a nod, “So what is it, then?”
Another pause fell between them before he answered, “The things I did… no one could ever…” he started, then he took another step back, and tugged at his tie, “No one in their right mind would ever say that to me.”
Rose could think of one person who definitely would in her right mind say that to him. She faced that woman in the mirror every day. It astounded her in that moment that he couldn’t see the obvious, couldn’t see what was right in front of him, literally. But she didn’t say anything. There was a line they always treaded between being just friends and being more, and she wasn’t certain just what would happen if she tried to cross it first.
“I think you’re wrong,” she settled on saying, and she risked a step toward him, “I think you’ve got that mark for a reason, and that’s ‘cause someone out there… In all of time and space thought you were worth saying it to.”
The Doctor scratched his head, “Yeah, suppose so,” he replied, “Still, at least it isn’t just ‘Doctor,’ written on my wrist.”
Rose scoffed, “No fair!” she cried, though she was smiling broadly, that tongue in cheek smile that the Doctor would go to the grave denying the way it made him feel whenever he saw it, “Not all of us get declarations of love, Doctor.”
He giggled, and walked around to the scanner side of the console. She followed suit, and soon the two were staring at the monitor, with him smiling down at her, and her smiling up at him. “So…” he began, “Where do you want to go next?”
After that conversation, they didn’t bring up each other’s soul marks again, but they thought about them every day. Rose even began to wonder who it was that told him “I love you.” Sometimes she thought it might be her, but then she was fairly certain she would never muster up the courage to say how she felt. She could never jump across that line. He would reject her, she was certain, at least, she was until they met his old companion Sarah Jane, and they were outside the chippy.
“But Sarah Jane,” she was saying, “You were that close to her once and now you never even mention her. Why not?” she asked, feeling more hurt than ever as she realized where she stood in their relationship. They would never cross the line she so desperately wanted to cross. She glanced down at her wrist, suddenly unsure of just who the hell told her her name right before they parted, or who told him they loved him.
Then he said something that proved her wrong, or rather, he almost said something that proved her wrong, “I don’t age, I regenerate,” he told her, “But humans decay. You wither, and you die. Imagine watching that happen to someone who you-” love. That was the word he left hanging off the end of that sentence. Love. He didn’t have to say it. Anyone with a brain could put two and two together and realize where it was going.
Rose’s heart was racing in her chest, and she reached over, and felt the mark on her wrist, suddenly suspecting once more that maybe it was her after all. “What, Doctor?” she asked, hoping that there was the smallest of chances that he would say it, that he would finish that sentence.
As usual, he didn’t finish the sentence, but what he said didn’t make her doubt her suspicions either, “You can spend the rest of your life with me, but I can’t spend the rest of mine with you,” he confessed, “I have to live on, alone. That’s the curse of the time lords.”
And in that moment, Rose realized he felt the same way about her as she felt about him. The suspicions she’d held about their feelings were no longer suspicions. It was real. The only thing she could consider a suspicion after that was the identity of whoever said her name, and after this conversation, it seemed more and more likely. With what he’d just told her…
The Doctor meanwhile was thinking much along the same train of thought. The entire time they’d been talking, from the moment they’d left the chippy, he’d been lost in thought about the feelings that had surfaced since Sarah Jane had come back. The feelings brought about by the sudden influx of reality around them. The realization that he would one day have to lose her to old age if he didn’t lose her during one of their dangerous adventures.
He’d been so caught up in those feelings, he hadn’t even realized when he nearly let slip how he felt about her. The one thing he could never tell her if he had any hope of sparing himself the most intense of pains one day, he nearly told her. The sentence was almost finished, except for that one key word he knew would seal their fate. The one word that would push them over that line between being friends and being more.
But he meant what he’d said. He did want to spend the rest of his life with her. In that moment, having been swept up in everything that had happened, he was willing to at least tell her that. He wasn’t ready to finish the key sentence, but he was ready to say something.
After that, they both wanted to say something about what had happened outside of that chippy. But once again, things got too busy for them to talk about it. Mickey joined them, then the Doctor had a brief fling with what Mickey would later call his celebrity crush. Then the parallel universe visit happened, and Mickey was gone, but it had been so long since they last talked about it…
It wasn’t until after they left Krop Tor that they spoke of anything to do with the growing feelings between them, or the soul marks on their wrists again. They only did this because they were cuddling on the sofa in the library, and Rose had been staring at the writing on her wrist.
They’d only wound up there because neither one could sleep after what had happened that day, and this had become a past-time between the two of them after particularly challenging journeys. Though, as of late, it wasn’t just the tough days anymore. Sometimes they wound up there on the rare days where they did nothing but float through the time vortex. The Doctor would light the fire in the fireplace, the one that used reusable firewood from the forty-ninth century, and they would cuddle on the couch together and talk for hours.
But in that next moment they talked about their soul marks, the Doctor had been rambling about some odd planet where the people had four heads and one leg, when Rose had started staring off into space at the arm she had dangling off of the sofa, and she focused on the black markings that bore her name. Even now she still wondered why it was just her name, first and last, and not something sweet and meaningful like the words that adorned the Doctor’s wrist.
“Rose?” the Doctor asked, snapping her out of her thoughts.
She turned her head, and looked up at him, “What?”
The time lord shrugged, “You were staring at it again,” he stated, his own eyes glancing ahead of him at the very much visible mark, “Is something going on?”
She shook her head, “No, nothing,” she replied, then she sighed, “It’s just, I still don’t understand why it’s just my name. Whoever it is, why didn’t they say anything after that? It makes me think… I don’t know.”
The Doctor, who had one arm resting on top of one of hers, gently squeezed her hand, then let it continued to rest against her waist, “Makes you think what?” he inquired.
“It makes me think that something bad happened to them,” she admitted, “Really bad, ‘cause it sounds like it’s just the beginning of whatever they were saying to me when whatever happens happens… And then there’s that thing the beast said.”
A sigh was emitted from the Doctor’s lips, and he pulled her ever so slightly closer to him, using his free hand-well, not so free, considering his arm was pinned beneath Rose’s head- to stroke her hair as he spoke, “Rose, it lied,” he promised her, “It was saying things left and right to mess with our heads.”
“But those things it said about the others,” she reminded him, “Those were true, weren’t they?”
“We don’t know that,” he protested, “We can’t know that. We didn’t know anything about those people, did we? Hmm?”
She gave him a slow nod, “I guess you’re right,” she replied, leaning her head back against his arm, and letting out a deep breath, “It still felt so real, though. When he said it, it felt like that was for sure what was going to happen, and my first thought was whoever says my name, and I just hoped that the mark was wrong, that that wasn’t what they’re gonna say at all, that they’re gonna finish the sentence, and I’ll end up with something as nice as ‘I love you.’”
The Doctor pressed a kiss to her forehead, as she had done to him hours earlier through the helmet, and sighed, “Whatever it is, it’s not as bad as you think,” he said softly, “I promise, whoever it is will probably have said something better than ‘I love you,’ before they say, ‘Rose Tyler.’ Hopefully. I’m not exactly a psychic.”
Rose laughed light-heartedly, and reached over with her marked wrist, and shoved his chest lightly, causing him to laugh with her as they locked eyes, then suddenly everything became serious, and the two fell into a silence, but not an uncomfortable one. It was however, full of a particular kind of tension, as if they were on the precipice of discovering something major, but neither had taken the final step necessary to go over that precipice.
But they had both raised a foot to take the step, or at least, they had the second the Doctor’s eyes drifted down to her lips, and he began to lean down, and she felt herself tilting her head up in anticipation, waiting for him to meet her in the middle, when suddenly a thought came to her, and this time, with their faces a mere two inches apart at most, it was her who interrupted the moment, not him.
“But the Beast said that it would happen very soon,” she said suddenly, and they both froze in the midst of closing the already small gap between them, and retreated a few inches, “Doctor, I know you think it was lying, but…”
“Rose, it was lying,” he assured her, continuing to stroke her hair as he spoke, “Like I said, it was messing with our heads.”
“Doctor, it was playing with our fears,” she protested, “It was messing with truths that were already there. It may have been lying about how the future would play out, but-”
She didn’t get to finish that sentence. At that moment, the time lord closed the small gap between them, and pressed his lips to hers in what she considered the most shocking moment of her life up until that point. The actual most shocking moment was still about three months away. But in that moment, with the fire crackling in the background, casting shadows over both of their faces as they held each other on the library sofa, she was more stunned than she’d ever been.
At first she didn’t move, and her eyes even widened as his lips met hers, but then a calming feeling washed over her, and she closed her eyes, relaxing into the kiss. Her arm slid up his until she was gripping his shoulder, and she felt his hand find a grip of its own in her hair as they continued to kiss. She didn’t question why it was happening, she didn’t want to. She was incredibly glad it was happening, however, and if she were to say that she hadn’t actually dreamed about this precise minute happening, she’d be lying.
It was unfortunately over too soon, though, and she barely held back a disappointed groan when the Doctor pulled away from her, and stared down at his companion. She could feel his piercing gaze on her face, and slowly she opened her eyes, and stared between them, only just then wondering what the hell just happened, and why the hell it happened.
“W… What was that?” she asked softly, her voice just barely louder than a whisper as she stared up at him, “Why…?”
“Well, Rose Tyler, the best distraction from worrying about future predicting devils tends to be a shock,” he told her, a goofy smile appearing on his face as he looked down at her, “You were scared, and I was thinking quick. Did it work?”
Rose nodded slowly, “I’d say so, yeah,” she replied, wondering if he could hear how fast her heart was pounding in her chest. She knew she could certainly feel it. It was so fast, she was fairly certain it would never calm down, or she’d have some sort of heart attack at the ripe old age of twenty.
The time lord continued to grin down at her, “Brilliant,” he said, then the two fell into another comfortable silence, and stared out at the fire in front of them until they fell asleep.
The talk about their soul marks didn’t occur too often after that, but every day Rose lived in fear of what hers meant, and if the Doctor were being honest, he was worried, too. Despite what he told her, he had an inkling that the beast hadn’t been lying, and they didn’t have much time left. Whoever said “Rose Tyler,” was going to say it very soon, of that he was certain as a multitude of potential time lines danced in front of his eyes at night.
Ever since their conversation outside of the chippy-hell, ever since she’d told him what it said- he’d harbored his suspicions that it was him who would say it, and it was her who would tell him, “I love you.” When he kissed her on the sofa, he’d claimed it was just for a distraction, and he thought he’d pretended well, but it was not just to distract her. It was because in that moment, the firelight reflecting off of Rose’s skin, the concerned look in her eyes… He’d never felt his walls more close to collapsing, and in a moment of weakness, the distance between them already so short, he let himself close the gap.
By the time he pulled himself together, their lips had been locked for at least five seconds, maybe ten. Normally he was rather good with time- he was a time lord, after all- but when it came to kissing Rose Tyler, he lost track of it. But he had pulled himself together, and he pulled away abruptly, cutting off the kiss before it could continue. By mercy of all the gods he didn’t believe in, the one person he did believe in kept her eyes closed for an extra second, and missed the look of pure shock that had developed on his features. When she did open her eyes, he composed himself, and looked down at her with a hint of a smile on his face.
After that, his suspicions that Rose was the one who said it only grew stronger, and if he were to guess, he’d say she harbored the same suspicions. And he didn’t know it then, but those suspicions wouldn’t be suspicions for much longer. There would come a moment just three months later where he stood staring at an empty space in the console room, a mixture of a good dozen or so emotions flooding through him as the time lord lived the most shocking moment in his nine hundred years.
Fast forward to when he watched her disappear into the parallel universe, and he placed his hand on the wall as he realized he could never see her again. His hearts were breaking inside of his chest as he stared at the blank white space ahead of him.
But at the same time, another realization was dawning within him. If that was truly the last time he’d seen her… Neither one of them had said the things their soulmates were supposed to say to each other. They hadn’t gotten the chance to. He felt his hearts break a little more as that realization washed over him, and he pushed himself away from the wall, and walked away as he tried to accept what could never be.
Or could it…? Once he got back to the Tardis, his time lord brain realized there was still one more chance to be sure… One more chance to confirm his suspicions… One more chance to at least tell her how he felt even if he could never see her again. He sent them into the time vortex,set the scanner to search for what he was looking for, and rushed back to the library. He had a supernova to find.
The time lord spent the next six days in the library searching for the right supernova. He only did this because he wasn’t receiving any word from the scanner that it had found something, and he couldn’t just sit around and do nothing, so he buried himself in his work.
He didn’t sleep, he didn’t eat, he didn’t even shower. All he did over those six days was search book after book, and shelf after shelf only to find nothing. Six days into his venture, he threw a book to the other side of the room-well, as far as he could throw it considering the library was rather large- and fell back onto the floor with a sigh, simply lying there for a moment as what had happened truly hit him for the first time.
For a few seconds, all the Doctor could hear was the sound of his own breathing as he recalled what he’d just lost. The loss of Rose overwhelmed him for a moment, and he shut his eyes, losing himself in the feeling of his grief in the silence that had fallen over him. He didn’t cry, he didn’t scream, and he didn’t shout. He simply lie there with his eyes closed, and said nothing, did nothing.
That’s when he heard it, the faintest beeping sound in the world. His eyes snapped open, and he sat up bolt right, cocking his head in the direction of the door as he listened to what was currently the most musical sound in the universe. The Tardis had found a Supernova. He would get the chance to say goodbye, to see Rose one last time, and to find out if it was truly her that his soul mark belonged to.
The Doctor stood up, and immediately burst into a run toward the console room, not caring that his shoes had gone missing-he’d taken them off at some point during his six day library visit, he wasn’t quite sure when- as his bare feet slammed against the Tardis grating. He all but crashed into the scanner, his desperate hands fumbling to grasp it and bring it toward him. He was panting when he saw the results.
The Tardis had found him a supernova two hundred thousand light years away from Earth, and a powerful one too. A victorious smile appeared on the Doctor’s face as he let loose a delighted shout, and fist pumped the air. It was only a matter of time before he’d see her again.
That smile quickly turned into a frown as he realized what else it meant. He only had about two minutes to say goodbye to Rose. Two minutes to tell her everything of how he felt about her. Two minutes to say everything they’d left unsaid. Just two, tiny minutes to find closure for both of them. How the hell was he supposed to do that?
For starters, he was going to take a damn shower. He desperately needed to clear his head, and there was something about a shower that always got one’s thoughts going, whether they were a human or a time lord.
The shower didn’t really do much, but he was at least clean. Not that Rose would be able to smell him once he made the connection, but she’d definitely be able to see the greasy appearance his hair had gotten. He didn’t want to leave any trace of visible evidence of what he’d been doing for the past six days.
After that, once he’d gotten dressed again, he sat down on his bed, and thought about just what the hell he’d say to her. He’d pulled out a picture of the two of them from 1953 out of his pocket, and stared at it as he thought of all the things he wanted to say to her. All of the things he was coming up with were either too cheesy, or just not good enough for Rose Tyler, and he wanted her to hear the best of what he had to say. So he spent the next two weeks staring at the photograph, practicing exactly what he’d say to Rose, but each speech had its roots in the first one he gave to the image, the one he always thought of as his favorite, because it was the first time he’d ever said that he loved her out loud.
“Rose, I…” he began, staring at the photograph as if it would give him some sort of inspiration, “I… I’ve never said this out loud. Not to anyone. I don’t know how… How do I say it?” he asked in frustration, “How do I say how I feel in just two minutes, Rose? It’s impossible, but it’s all we’ve got because I didn’t make sure that lever was working properly.
“There goes the self blame again, you’re not here, but I can see you saying it’s not my fault. I can see you trying to reassure me that I didn’t do anything wrong, that it was an accident, but… Rose what if I’d checked it again before we’d put them online? If I did that, would you still be here? Would we still…?
“All right, enough babble… Time to actually say something… Rose Tyler… I… I love you. There, I’ve said it out loud. Well, I said it to the air, but it’s the truth. I love you. I’ve loved you since ‘run,’ Rose, I’m glad I survived blowing up your job,” he laughed at this, “Can’t say that about most soulmates can you? Assuming we are soulmates. I think we are. Nine hundred years of time and space and I’ve never felt this feeling before? Can’t be a coincidence. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe…” he let out a deep breath, “I believe in you.”
“Have I reached two minutes yet? Or even one? Should probably leave you some time to respond, I’d like to hear what you have to say, hopefully it’s good. Knowing you, it’ll be brilliant.”
And he was one hundred percent positive that whatever she’d tell him when they finally saw each other again would be absolutely perfect.
Two weeks passed, and the Doctor was still spending his days in his bedroom, practicing what he’d say to her, finding that none of those things fit them well enough. No matter how many times he said, “Rose Tyler, I love you,” or the reverse, “I love you, Rose Tyler,” it just didn’t seem like it was an accurate statement of how he felt. How the hell could he put the way he felt about this pink and yellow human into words? That was something he’d realize the very next day when he finally used the Tardis to drain the supernova of its power so he could contact Rose through that one, last very tiny gap in the universe.
He called out to her with his mind, his voice hushed, calm, and almost pleading as he reached through the tiny gap left between their universes. Minutes later, she appeared before him, looking like a sort of hologram, and his hearts almost stopped at the sight of her. The moment he’d been practicing for for just over two weeks was here, and he nearly froze until she spoke up, interrupting his thoughts.
“Where are you?” she asked, kickstarting the conversation he’d hoped would contain his epic speech, the one he’d been giving to a photograph for two weeks.
It didn’t. He never did give the speech, he froze up, and they wound up talking about different things, like where her life was going. He was perfectly fine with that, but he still wanted to use at least some of that two minutes to tell her how he felt. He’d wasted all that time they were together being scared and doing nothing. It was truly now or never.
“The one adventure I can never have,” he was telling her, watching as the tears flooded from her eyes, and she held back a sob. All he wanted to do in that moment was reach over and wipe them off of her cheeks, tell her everything would be okay, but he couldn’t, and it wasn’t.
“Am I ever going to see you again?” she asked, voice breaking as she spoke, and he felt a lump forming in his own throat as he watched her, and shook his head.
“You can’t,” he replied solemnly, wishing more than ever that that statement was a lie.
“What’re you gonna do?”
“Oh, I’ve got the Tardis, same old life, last of the time lords.” He just wished he could spend it with her.
“On your own?” she asked, the sobs evident in her voice, “I…” she nearly let loose a sob, and she looked down before she finished her sentence, those three words that sent shockwaves running up and down the Doctor’s spine as he realized that it was her, after nine hundred years wondering who said it, he realized it was her, “I love you.”
And just like that, the Doctor was living the most shocking moment of his life. He looked down at his wrist, feeling as though the circular markings were on fire as he stared at her in disbelief and awe, forgetting that they had used up the majority of their two minutes as he forgot how to breathe, and forgot that he desperately needed that time to finish the one sentence that needed saying.
“Quite right, too,” he told her, a faint smile appearing on his features, “It was you… It was you all along, through all those years… Listen, we haven’t got much time,” he explained, reaching out for her hand, forgetting briefly that they couldn’t actually touch, and pulling it away in disappointment, “So if it’s my last chance to say this, Rose Tyler…”
Their eyes both widened, and in the two seconds they had between him saying her name, and the Doctor fading away, an indescribable feeling rushed over the two of them as they realized what they were to each other, what they’d always been to each other.
What they’d been since the Doctor had saved her from autons and uttered a single word that changed her life, “Run.”
Since they’d been trapped in a basement and he’d said, “I’m so glad I met you.”
Since she’d taken the time vortex into her head and he’d told her, “I think you need a Doctor,” and pressed his lips to hers, causing him to become the man standing in front of her.
It wasn’t just those memories either, it was “Imagine watching that happen to someone that you-” outside of the chippy, and “You can spend the rest of your life with me, but I can’t spend the rest of mine with you.” It was her offering to share a mortgage with him on Krop Tor. It was a surprise kiss on a library sofa in front of the fire. It was “I’m burning up a sun just to say goodbye,” and “the one adventure I could never have.”
Most importantly, it was “I love you,” and “Rose Tyler.” It was the words marked on their arms since they’d both been born that identified the last thing their soulmate would say to them. The tragedy of realizing that they were soulmates in their final seconds, two seconds which felt like a lifetime as all the time they’d spent together flashed before their eyes. The realization of all they could’ve been, and all the mistakes they’d made denying the things they’d felt for one another.
Their hearts beat faster as they continued staring into each other’s eyes, the Doctor opening his mouth to finish his sentence as he looked at her with a mixture of pain and sheer happiness. What he wanted to say was the end of that sentence, “I love you,” but what came out was exactly what was destined to happen, what was written on Rose’s arm.
What came out was nothing as her image faded away, and she was gone to him forever. A tear streaked down his cheek as he was sent reeling from her loss, this time he knew from the loss of his soulmate. She had been his soulmate. He wasn’t surprised, he’d sensed for a long time that this was coming, but that didn’t help the agony he was feeling from losing her. All he wanted to do was fly the Tardis into the vortex and stay there for a while while he recovered, but time had other plans, and a bride appeared in the console room just seconds after the most shocking moment of his life.
For Rose, she was feeling much the same way. But along with her grief came a sense of hope. Unlike a lot of soulmate situations where the last thing said to either of them was the last thing said before a death, both of them were still alive. Sure, he’d told her that the walls were closed, but she still had a glimmer of hope that she’d see him again. Even as she turned around and cried into her mother’s arms, she held onto it.
She would see him again, and this time, they’d do it right. This time, he would finish his sentence. This time he would say, “I love you.”