Author's Note: "Songfics" are hard for me. They feel unnatural and a bit weird. Still, this idea wouldn't leave alone, and so here it is. This is a Doctor Who songfic using the lyrics for Faithfully as recorded by Journey in 1983. The standard disclaimer applies. Unfortunately the words on this page (aside from the actual lyrics) are all I own. I don't own the Doctor, or Steve Perry. Sad day. That being said, lyrics are in Italics and the fic is in normal type. This follows the thoughts of the Tenth Doctor, Rose, The Duplicate Doctor, The Tenth Doctor, Rose, Duplicate Doctor, Tenth Doctor, and finally Rose again. Hopefully it should make sense, but refer to that list again if you need to. With that said, please hit the little review box at the bottom. I do this for the reviews and because I just can't hold it in. Enjoy!
Into the midnight sun
Wheels go round and round
You're on my mind
The Doctor paced wildly across the length of the TARDIS. He didn't have much time left, and he knew it. After all this time, so long after leaving Rose in another universe on Bad Wolf Bay, it seemed she could still affect him. She was, even now, on his mind. He pumped his closed fists at his sides into the empty air, torn between wanting to hit something and wanting to scream his frustration across the universe. He wasn't ready to leave this body. He knew it was irrational, but he couldn't help but think about how Rose Tyler would no longer recognize him once he lost this form. He didn't want that. Even though it was ultimately useless, he tried as desperately as he could to cling to anything that reminded him of her. She had been everything that he had never dared to hope for again after The Time War. But of course it was too good to last. Now she was gone; lost to him forever.
Like a hurt child longing for comfort, all that this dying Doctor wanted was to see her one last time. Somehow, he felt that if he could see her, everything might be alright. She had always had that effect on him. He wanted that, needed that, now more than ever.
Then, like a tidal wave, the idea hit him. His rage instantly turned to glee. He shouted a whoop into the air and ran to the control panel of the TARDIS. He could see her one last time. It was possible! He could cross her timeline without crossing his! If he visited her before she ever knew him, just to say a quick hello, or to give a passing wave, it might work. He didn't trust himself for more than that anyway. He might throw himself at her if he had more than a few mere seconds of contact. But this, remaining a stranger in the street, this much he believed, was doable.
He didn't care to think it through much farther than that. Rose was attainable. That was all that mattered and the thought consumed him much like his need to regenerate. It was unstoppable. He had to see her. He wasn't going to waste any more time thinking of possible consequences. He had burned up a star for her. What was this in comparison? Frantically he set the controls and braced himself for another ride across time.
Sleep alone tonight
Sending all my love
Down the wire
Rose curled her fists into the sheets, gripping so hard that her knuckles turned white. Her breath caught in her chest and it was all she could do to hold back a scream. It was a dream. She knew it, but that revelation made it no less terrifying.
Her Doctor… She had seen him die. In her dreams he died every night. In her dreams he left her all over again.
Sighing heavily, Rose swung her feet out of the sheets and off the bed, hitting the floor unsteadily to go and get a drink. She wasn't certain yet if she fancied a cup of tea, or a bottle of malt whiskey. She needed something. It didn't help her to think that the something she needed was him. Scotch would just have to do.
Padding lightly down the hall, she did her best not to wake the man in the room next to her. Ever since he had been stranded with her in this alternate life, the duplicated Doctor, who was entirely the Doctor and yet at the same time entirely not the Doctor, stayed just down the hall from her in her parents' mansion. They had a wing to themselves. Everyone assumed they were together, but the assumption could not be farther from the truth. They were together, yes; inseparable even. And yet, they were, quite truly, worlds apart.
Finally reaching her kitchen, Rose found the largest snifter she owned and poured it full. An old cellular phone rested just beside her on the countertop and it drew her attention when she nearly spilled her drink on it.
The Doctor, her Doctor had given her that phone years ago. How she wished that it could somehow contact him now. She picked it up and carried it to the bar along with her drink. It was pointless, she knew. She stared at it longingly, as she drank heavily. She remembered all the adventures where she had carried that phone. The phone taunted her, and the drink convinced her to try, just for the sake of curiosity, to place an impossible call. It was, after all, a device created by her doctor. It could probably do just about anything.
Just as her thumb tapped at the send button, a familiar form entered the room.
"Oh, Rose," he whispered sadly in a voice that was entirely the Doctor's, and yet at the same time was entirely not the Doctor's. "Oh Rose, what have I done to you?"
They say that the road
Ain't no place to start a family
Right down the line
It's been you and me
And lovin' a music man
Ain't always what it's supposed to be
Oh, girl, you stand by me
I'm forever yours
He stared into those familiar chocolate orbs in such an intimate way that he felt like he had known her all his life. And indeed, he had. The duplicate, who had decided on the name John to avoid confusion for those that had known his original self, had known Rose since the day of his unwitting creation. Although he had all of the memories of the Time Lord, this human man had no knowledge of how to comfort the broken woman before him. He had all the knowledge necessary to save worlds, and yet he could not save the one who was his world.
"Rose," he whispered again, trying not to startle her. She seemed so easily angered these days. It didn't help that he bore the face of the man she loved and would never see again.
"Yes, Doctor?" She answered flatly. "I know I'm mad at you, but I can't remember why. I don't want to remember. I don't want to 'member anythin'."
John realized long ago that she drank to forget. When she was drunk she didn't seem to know the difference between her Doctor and the Doctor she had kissed so fiercely on Bad Wolf Bay in a moment of mixed ecstasy and agony. In those drunken moments, she sometimes screamed and cried at him and she sometimes threw herself at him, eager for all the passion she could stand. It was in those moments that John became more like himself as he was before meeting Rose. He was disconnected and chaste. How else could he deal with the pain of having her beside him and not with him? It was the only way he could respect her. Still, he didn't want her like this. He craved a Rose that loved him and not some unobtainable version of his former self. He often carried her to her bed and tucked her in when she did this to herself. In those moments, he contemplated leaving and living his human life elsewhere. He had no idea what he would do or where he would go. All he knew was that he couldn't stand to see her this way a moment longer. But in those moments, she always grabbed at his hand as he turned to leave. He couldn't leave her then.
"Rose, what can I do? What can I say?" He begged, his single human heart breaking once more at what had become a nightly ritual.
"This isn't how it's 'sposed to be."
John crossed this distance between them in a few short strides, coming to stand as close as he dared beside her chair.
"I know love," he confessed, using a word that had been all too foreign to his original self. "But you, better than anyone, understand my purpose. I'm - I was – the last of the Time Lords. I had a duty to the universe. You know that. You helped me. You healed me in all those times when I would have been lost without you. You stood right by me. But I couldn't, no," he corrected, "I wouldn't be what you wanted. I didn't know how. How could I do my duty to a universe I had so often foiled and tie you to that life? What kind of life would that have been for you? I wanted you, Rose Tyler. God, how I wanted you!"
His voice must have raised at that, because it seemed to draw a reaction from her. Slowly, her trembling hand placed an empty glass on the countertop in front of her and she lowered herself from the stool to stumble unsteadily into his arms.
"But you didn't. You left me," she whispered into the skin of his bare chest.
"I did the only thing I knew how, love. He, well me," he stumbled over the words, " You know what I mean. He did the only thing he could. He couldn't have both his duty and you. But with me, he could. I was him, Rose. Until that very moment when this body sprouted into being, I was him and he was me. I have loved you Rose. He loved you, and through me, we continue to do so."
She sniffled against him, succumbing to either understanding or the drink, he did not know. He held her as tightly as he dared, afraid of hurting her more than he already had.
"I am yours, Rose. This is the only way I could never leave you. I promise, you have me in this form as long as I live. I am yours. Faithfully, Rose. Nothing will come before you now. Not the world, not the universe. Nothing."
Under the big top world
We all need the clowns
To make us smile
The Doctor stood once more on the TARDIS, feeling the familiar prickling sensation crawl across his skin. These were his last moments in that skin, and all he could think about was how he didn't want to go. Not yet. Rose had changed so many parts of him and he wasn't ready to give that up just yet. Still, he had no choice.
He thought of how no one had come close to her since. He had tried to travel alone, but he soon found that he needed the others. Donna, Amy, and Rory… He had needed them all. None of them came to close to her though, and he hadn't wanted them to. He simply needed the human interaction to keep from losing himself. If he hadn't had Donna that day when he left Rose forever on Bad Wolf Bay, he might have… well, who knew now? Amy and Rory had been his salvation more times than he had ever cared to admit. Whenever he started to slip into his depression and felt his cheerful façade crumbling away, Rory always pulled some idiot move and it distracted him just enough. It was a circus life, but it had been enough to sustain him.
It was over now though. The Doctor looked down at his outstretched hands as they began to glow. An image came to him of Rose when her skin had glowed the same golden color. His Time Lord mind supplied all the detail. He remembered his lips, his lips on another body, touching hers, pulling the death from her and into himself. Now it was all happening again. All he could think of was her. He didn't want to go.
Through space and time
Always another show
Wondering where I am
Lost without you
Daylight greeted Rose unceremoniously. Groggily, she managed a bit of a groan before throwing her arm over her face to shield herself. She was going to have one hell of a hangover and she knew that she probably deserved it. Still, she was supposed to help her mother with the baby today and she might as well get up and try to hide the evidence of her deteriorating state. It wouldn't do to upset her mother.
Another groan drew her attention. This one did not come from her but came from somewhere in the direction of the floor. Rose risked squinting her eyes open just a fraction, ready to be assaulted by the light. Fortunately it wasn't as bad as she had feared and her eyes quickly adjusted.
Beside her, lying sprawled on the floor, was the Doctor. No, not the Doctor, she mentally berated herself. Never the Doctor. It was John. John, the not Doctor.
She rolled onto her back once more and fell against the pillows in frustration. What had she expected, honestly? Had she thought she would wake up on the TARDIS again and everything would be alright? Was she really so foolish? Huffing a sigh, she rolled her eyes at herself and blamed it on the drink. It was easier that way.
Still, it was time for another day and another show. She had learned to fool everyone.
Well, almost everyone. There was still him… the almost Doctor in her bedroom floor.
Foggily, she recalled sobbing into his chest last night. She remembered hearing words that she wanted to hear and she remembered desire. She had wanted him. No, she had wanted the Doctor, her Doctor…
Or had she?
Rose had never felt more lost.
And being apart
Ain't easy on this love affair
Two strangers learn to fall in love again
I get the joy of rediscovering you
Oh, girl, you stand by me
I'm forever yours
John groaned again, drawing himself back into consciousness. He still wasn't used to sleeping as a human. It left him feeling momentarily confused every morning. It probably didn't help that he nearly always slept on the floor. He had dreams too, and they were just as confusing as waking, if not more so. Everything he tried so hard to block out accosted him in his sleep. The family and the world that slept inside his mind woke up at night, always leaving him with tear stained cheeks in the morning. In the morning he would always tuck the apparitions into bed once more and forget them for the duration of the day. It was impossible to do otherwise.
He was beginning to wonder if he should just start doing the same thing with Rose. Really, what was one more unattainable love? Over some 900 odd years, the doctor had met and loved many. Although they had all touched him in various aspects, none were without importance. Maybe it was time to shelve Rose away among that number. Even though he knew the memory of her would haunt him at night, at least the true image of her would leave him be during the day.
At about that point in his musings, Rose began to stir. He looked up and saw her flop an arm over her face. Poor girl, he thought. My poor, wilting Rose…
He heard her puff in exasperation and collapse upon her pillows.
"Rose?" He whispered again, trying not to startle her. She sometimes forgot he slept on her floor. "Rose, ya'right?"
"Yeah, yeah," she answered back, still not looking at him.
He sat up and took the back of his head in one hand and his chin in the other. Loudly, he cracked his neck and attempted to stand.
"Well, come on then," he cheered, back to his ruse of a happy tone. "Breakfast and then off to see the world!"
"I don't want to see the world," Rose mumbled groggily. "All I want to see is the backside of my eyelids for another few hours."
John sighed again. He did an awful lot of sighing these days along with an awful lot of whispering. "Well, I could tell Jackie that you're sick, but fat lot of good that'd do."
That did pull a ghost of a smile from her.
John loved those moments. In those moments, she didn't seem so far away from him. In those moments, when her hair was all about her face and her makeup was disheveled from where she had forgotten to remove it… In those moments, he knew he could never give up. This was the one adventure that he thought would never be allowed to him. Like all adventures, he wanted to travel it with her by his side.
"Well," she chuckled to herself, "I 'spose you're right. Nothin'd do to keep her out," she smiled, thinking of her mother's relentlessness in all maters concerning her daughter. "Unless you told her we couldn't be disturbed because we were too busy f-"
The sounds had just left her mouth and John watched helplessly as she scrambled to get them back. He knew what she had meant to say. She clapped her hand over her mouth and groaned again.
"I think I'm gonna be sick," she called out by way of excusing herself. She shut herself in the bathroom and John heard the click of the latch.
"Oh come on, Rose! The thought isn't that bad is it?" He waved his hands at the locked door.
"It's not like I'm defective, you know! I've still got all the requisite parts!"
Still no answer. He couldn't think of anything else remotely funny to help ease the tension, and so, he worked his way to the door. He stood with his hands in his pajama pockets for a long while, uncertain as to what to do next. He rocked back and forth on his feet for a while. She still didn't come out. He began whistling Dixie. Eventually the door cracked open.
"Oh, would you stop that, for Pete's sake?!" she screamed at him.
"What's Pete got to do with it?" John inquired.
He could just imagine. her expression as she groaned in exasperation.
"Come on now, laugh! You know that was kind of funny, Pete bein' your da' and all!"
The door swung open, revealing Rose. She still looked a little worse for wear, but John could see from the dribble of water at her front that she had brushed her teeth. It was at least a start to the day. Tears pooled in the corners of her eyes, and so, John backed up a little, to give her space. Then he held out his arms to her.
She nearly lept onto him. The force made them both stumble into the opposing wall. He wrapped his arms tighter as she began to sob uncontrollably.
"What is it, Rose?" He was more than a little afraid that her erratic behavior might mean that she was still drunk from the night before.
"It's just," she backed away from him and rubbed at her eyes with the back of her hand. "It's just that's exactly what he'd say, I know it."
He wrapped his arms around her tighter, catching some of her hair between his fingers and playing with it as they spoke. "It happens a lot, doesn't it? That makes you so upset?"
She nodded into his shoulder and clutched at him all the tighter.
"Rose," he whispered into her hair as he kissed the top of her head lightly. "Rose, think of your mother and Pete."
She let go of him and stumbled backwards a few steps in order to look at him.
"What're you talking about?"
"Well, it works for your mother and Pete. To him, she's his Jackie. To her, he's her Pete. There's no other Jackie or other Pete. So how do you feel about Pete, Rose? Is he your dad, or is he your other dad?"
She bit back a sob and chewed on her lip for a brief moment, refusing to look at anywhere other than the floor.
"He's my da'," she whispered uncertainly. "Yeah, he is." At that, she raised her head up and shook it emphatically, as if closing the discussion.
"Well then, what' about me, Rose? What about me? Who am I?"
He could see the struggle within her heart. It was easier to see things in terms of her parents. They were one step removed. Like himself, it took Rose a while to come to grips with her emotions. He supposed that he was the only one to blame. He had left her one too many times.
When she didn't reply, John forced himself to turn his back. He'd make tea. It was good for the synapses. He needed something good. It was obvious that she couldn't love him now. Why keep trying to beat it into her? He had no idea what he would do with his life without her, but he could start by making tea.
Almost immediately her sniffles made his steps falter. It was so hard to not turn back around. All he wanted was to turn around and see her running the few brief paces into his arms. But he couldn't. He couldn't do it to himself anymore and he certainly couldn't do it to her. It was time to let her sleep in his mind with the others.
"I… I…" she fought over the words.
He turned before he could stop himself.
"I can't live like this," she screamed. "Why am I doing this?" She sank to her knees and beat a fist into the floor. Sobs wracked her body and she made little animal like noises in all of her sorrow and rage.
In an instant he was beside her, crouched on the ground with an arm around her shoulders. Rose Tyler was seemingly the only force in the universe that he couldn't resist.
Rose looked at him briefly before closing her eyes again. The tears streamed freely down her cheeks. "I want you. I want him. I said I'd never leave him. It's… It's killing me," she cried.
"Rose," he choked. "Oh my Rose." Tears were streaming down his face now too. He couldn't stop them. Too many times had this scene played itself? Too many times had she come almost to this point, only to run away from the moment of resolution? It was killing him too.
"I am him, but I'm not him. Just like you're Rose, but you aren't the same Rose that climbed into my TARDIS for the first time. But I'll continue to discover who you are, just as you'll learn to rediscover me. I can't do this forever, Rose. I can't have the back and forth. I can survive a time war and the death of all my kin, but Rose, I can't survive this constant back and forth. Please, Rose…"
John felt spent at such a confession.
He felt her begin to relax against him as she sat and leaned against his shoulder. For a few moments, neither spoke. It took all their efforts for each of them to control their breathing. When Rose next spoke, it took John by surprise.
"I want you."
That was it. It was as simple as that. After all of his words and all their struggles and all of their confessions; it was as simple as that.
"I want you," she spoke again, her voice a little bit stronger this time. "Past, present, future, my world, your world, our world, Pete's world… It doesn't matter. I just want this nightmare to be over. I want to wake up beside you and know that it's all gonna be okay."
John pulled himself up to give himself that extra moment to think. He was surprised when Rose did the same. She was shaking, he noticed. Cold, disheveled, and utterly spent, she was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. He could get lost in her.
"John? I'm cold," she tried again.
Finally he saw her as she was presently in front of him, instead of in a thousand reveries.
"I'm cold, John. I'm all trembley . I'm freezing and I just want to lie down again."
That was part of the magic of Rose Tyler; so consuming one moment and then so logically practical the next.
"Looks like you might need a doctor," he joked without changing his serious tone.
She clung to him for the first time since Bad Wolf Bay. For the first time she wrapped her arms around John and not some wishful version of The Doctor. Finally she could see him as he truly was; John, her Doctor.
I'm still yours
It was coming to a close. Gold clouded his visions and tried to cloud his thoughts. Still, he wanted only to think of her. It made the pain easier. Somehow, she made it bearable.
"I don't want to go," were his last spoken words. He wasn't able to get out the rest. He wasn't able to say that he wanted just one last chance to actually tell Rose Tyler that he loved her.
In a second that seemed to last for all of eternity, it was over. The Doctor was gone, and another stood in his place.
I'm forever yours
Rose woke with a start, fear coursing through her veins. Sweat dropped into her eyes the moment she tried to open them. Blindly, she threw her hands along the bed to search for John.
She hit him hard in the chest and he "oofed" angrily at her.
"Oy, Rose, what's that all about," he started in on her, but stopped immediately at the terror written so plainly across her features. Even in the dark, he could see she was very troubled.
"Hey, I'm here," he tried again, changing tactics. "What's the matter, love? I'm right here; always right here." He put an arm around her and pulled her in close as she steadied herself.
"What's the matter," he repeated again in the gentlest of voices.
John didn't have to ask. He had been feeling the pull of him lessen inexplicably. Suddenly he felt very alone. But the feeling only lasted for a moment. She squeezed his hand and it was gone.
"I was afraid you had gone with him," she whispered, no longer looking at the man beside her.
"Never," he cooed. "I'm all yours, Rose Tyler. Forever yours."