"I love you!" she cried out before a sob burst out of her.

Rose, my poor Rose, I'm sorry. So sorry.

She was hurting, hurting because of him once again. He thought he could have her and have the universe and have his little victory. But no one deserves all that, especially not him. And now his Rose was in so much pain, all because of him, once again. So sorry.

And yet she still told him that she loves him.

The most powerful thing on the universe. The power that can raise people to gods and ideas to empires. So much feeling, so much happiness and sorrow and moments and expressions packed into one little word. Love. Used so often today, and for such trivial things, it didn't mean much to some. But to those who knew, who truly knew what love meant and were lucky enough to feel it, knew that it was so much more complicated and terrifying and wonderful and powerful than can ever be imagined. True love was so rare, and yet when it came to be, it encompassed everything.

And the Doctor knew what was between him and Rose was everything.

"Quite right too" is all he can say.

Rose smiled through her tears, trying to keep him in her eyesight and her mind for as long as possible before the inevitable end came.

The Doctor knew what should come next.

Three simple words. Three words that have never been truer. Three of the most powerful words in the galaxy.

He knew he loved Rose, he always knew it. Even when he was literally a different man, when they danced and ate chips and witnessed horrors and miracles, he loved her from the moment she saved him in the underground of London.

She kept saving him, though she hardly realized it. Saved him from his ego, from the foes and enemies he meets in life. She saved him from himself, the most dangerous one of all.

And now here he was, the lord of time, the most dangerous man in the universe with the most powerful words in the universe on the tip of his tongue.

Even he could not see what the damage of that would be.

But even as part of his mind tried to think of the consequences, he realized he didn't care. He was about to lose everything anyway. And if there was one person he would risk for, it was his Rose Tyler.

And so the Doctor gave a sad smile and took a short breath.

"And I suppose, if it's my last chance to say it..."

And it was. He would never see her again. No more the Doctor and Rose Tyler in the TARDIS. His bad wolf, his valiant child, his love, his Rose. Never again.

"Rose Tyler,"

I love you.

I'll miss you.

How can I not have you?

I'm sorry.

What will I do?

I love you.

"I-"

And he could feel the connection break and instead of being on Bad Wolf Bay with her, he was back in the TARDIS.

He didn't cry when he made her leave Satellite five in his previous regeneration. He didn't cry when he made her leave the universe to be safe with her parents. He didn't cry when she let go, or when she was caught and taken away, or when he truly realized what had happened. Nor did he cry when he had to say goodbye.

But alone once again, he allowed himself a few tears for his Rose and the words that were never said.

He composed himself, and went up the familiar path to Rose's room. How many times and he been up here? Inviting her to some far off place, teasing her, just talking. The room seemed so much darker now without her in it.

It was still hers, and it was the closest he would ever be to her again. The room was undeniably Rose. Framed pictures of herself with her mum, with Mickey, with Jack and with himself were scattered along a bedside table. Her Union Jack shirt hung over a chair, and an old skirt was laying on the bed.

There was a single rose placed in a glass of water on her desk.

Feeling her all around him, he finally whispered what he couldn't say quick enough earlier.

"Rose Tyler, I love you."

He opened his eyes, half expecting her to be with him, to the empty room.

Rose was gone. He just had to accept that.

She will be happy. She said what she needed to get off her chest, even if she didn't hear the response. It doesn't need saying. She'll be fine. She'll be better without me.

It was those thoughts that kept the Doctor sane.

He left the room some minutes later, with nothing but emptiness in his heart where she used to be, and a rose that was starting to wilt in his hand.

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