Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, either from Dr. Who or BtVS, and do not profit from this.
“Crisis averted.” Rose said into her cell phone, smiling in relief. The dimples on her cheeks were as pronounced as he remembered it.
“Torchwood?” he asked, when she hung up, marveling that she was within arm’s reach. That he was here, with her, on this beach – forever.
“That? No.” she replied succinctly.
That’s when he knew that things only looked the same.
She had been Called. Capital ‘C’. It had happened one not so very special day, as she sat in the Torchwood office, in the middle of a meeting where she was falling asleep. Are you ready to be strong?
It was unexpected, but it was like coming home, she told him. It explained everything; her reflexes, her instinct, her penchant for trouble even. She grinned at him, the tip of her tongue slipping between her teeth. She was one of thousands, each of them strong and proud defenders of this world.
And there was much to be defended from, he learnt, as he spent long nights alone when she took off on missions to places on an earth he didn’t truly recognize yet. There was much to fear, he found one night, as they walked home only to be accosted by a vampire (brilliant
, he had said at the time, hiding his shaking hands in his pockets).
A Time Lord was strong. A human male…only so-so, he realized, as he tried manfully to protect himself and his girl.
“You hit my boyfriend!” he heard her screech in annoyance as he flew across the alleyway.
Through bleary eyes, he watched as she made short work of the demon, scattering dust everywhere.
It was weird, being in a world where she had a destiny, and he…well. He really needed to find a job soon.
Meeting Andrew was...edifying. That is, the Doctor thought, if he wanted to learn the history of The Avengers, in all different Marvel Verses, from start to finish. Their conversations also tended to be slightly non-linear.
“I really like the John Constantine thing you have going on. I mean, the suits and brown trench coats, and the mysterious and tragic past thing. The English accent just totally makes it you know, perfect. You’re totally like Spike, right down to the part where you have a thing for strong little blonde girls. Oh hey, I heard you’re growing this awesome spaceship thing, and you had all these gadgets, which I suppose makes you more like James Bond, and by the way, I really love the new Bond. I mean, I used to think Pierce Brosnan was the best, but Daniel Craig just Blew. Me. Away. Have you seen his eyes? They look right into your soul…”
By which time, he had completely tuned the boy out. And people thought he
Instead, he focused on learning everything he could about the New Watchers Council, trying to find his footing as their newest addition. Gradually, he learns not to freak out when Rose and her team were a few hours late reporting back into headquarters; al least, he learns not to show it.
He thought sometimes, of the day when his ship would be ready. He imagined holding her hand, and guiding her in, shutting the doors behind them before they took off for parts and times unknown.
More and more, he thinks about how it could be used in their constant war against the darkness, and remembers in an almost grim satisfaction, the other Doctor’s parting words about being born in the heat of blood and battle.
It was late on a Thursday night; he was in his corner in the library, researching their latest crisis – an apocalypse due next month around the twenty-fifth. He yawned, missing his Time Lord constitution once again, and trying not to dream about his TARDIS, growing in the basement.
The heavy wooden doors to the library opened and shut. He looked up, to see Rose slowly approaching him from across the vast halls. He squinted, eyes no longer what they were when he was something more than a Watcher.
Her eyes seemed oddly blank. In her hand, she still held a battle axe, which she dropped with a loud crash in the middle of the silent library where she abruptly stopped.
Unhesitatingly, he was by her side, and guiding her back to their room in another wing of the massive castle they occupied.
As he washed the blood from her matted hair in their private bathroom, she told him, in still, dead tones, about the fight, and how they were hopelessly outnumbered. How she had to leave her teammates behind in the cave. How she had cast in the mystical bomb provided to her by Willow, knowing that it would destroy everything – demons and slayers both.
She lost seven soldiers that day.
“And the problem is…” she continued, eyes still terrifyingly empty.
“…that you don’t regret it. Seven deaths is better than a thousand.” he finished for her, selfishly grateful that they died, and not her.
“Yeah. Exactly.” She looked at him. Is this what its like to be you, all the time?
She looked away from him at last, and was quiet for a very long time. The Doctor sat beside her, fidgeting with his hands, for once at a complete lost for words.
“I’m afraid I’m becoming less human every day.” she said it as easily as she would have said ‘We need more bread from the store.’
“Oh Rose…” he started.
“It’s true though, isn’t it? Buffy explained it to us before, how they created the first slayer. How, in order for her to fight the darkness, she needed to become the darkness.” She didn’t seem bitter, just resigned.
“You need rest.” He said, kissing her temple, before he kissed her mouth.
He made love to her, drowning the look of death from her eyes with something else. I will always bring you back.
He could only hope this was one promise he wouldn’t break.
In his wildest fantasies, he had never imagined mortal life with Rose Tyler to be like this. He had imagined a house, a mortgage, children, home-cooked meals.
He had thought often, of what it would be like if Rose was back with him. She’d draw him into her embrace, when the darkness inside him became too much to bear.
This life, where she left him behind, plunging head first into battle because she had to, because it was her duty to save the world. This life, where he waited at home, afraid that he’d lose her to the risks she took. This life, where he was the only thing tethering her to humanity.
It wasn’t what he expected.
But it was something he was getting used to.