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The Wolf's Way Home

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Rose could barely say the words. The three words that had been left unsaid by her for over two years. The words that had plagued her mind these past five months since she had been separated from the Doctor. Rose swallowed down the lump in her throat, fearing the Doctor's reaction to her words, but somehow, she was able to force them out.

 

”I love you.” Rose said with a sob, her voice breaking as she let out a shaky breath. The early December wind - chillier than she was used to back home - blew strands of her golden hair in her face, obscuring her vision of the Doctor. His projection was standing just a few feet from Rose, who yearned more than anything that she could touch him one last time. But she couldn’t. He wasn’t actually there. 

 

Watching the Doctor nod and smile at her confession, the urge to run up to hug him became harder to resist and for a moment, Rose swore she could hear a soft singing. It was a calming and strangely familiar presence in the back of her head, telling her it would be alright. She allowed the song to calm her as was its purpose, and tried to focus on where it was coming from, but the Doctor began to speak before she could place it. 

 

Rose pulled the stray strands of hair from her face, looked straight into her Doctor's eyes and watched him with mixed feelings as he spoke to her. He looked back at Rose with such warmth, that it momentarily made her forget this was goodbye and when he spoke, his voice was filled with such adoration, Rose could almost sense it. She wanted to drown in that feeling. The TARDIS key in her pocket, that she always carried with her, felt warm against her thigh, and she reflexively reached for it without realizing. Her whole being was concentrated on the Doctor's image, his final words to her before she had to say goodbye forever.

 

”Rose Tyler...”

 

Silence fell upon Bad Wolf Bay. The Doctor’s image was gone. The key in Rose's pocket went stone cold, and the warm, calming singing in her head ended abruptly. The headache she’d already gotten from crying worsened, and Rose nearly doubled over in pain as she let out a heartbroken whimper. She let the tears fall down her face, eyes stinging from the make-up mixing with them and pooling in her orbs. She hung her head and did her best to breathe despite the feeling that something was constricting her throat, blocking her airways.

 

The moment Rose was able to draw in a lungful of air, she raised her head. Without a second thought, Rose turned to her mother, her cheeks stained black from the layers of makeup that were running down her face, and ran. She didn't stop until she felt her mother's arms wrap her into a warm embrace and hands rubbing her back in gentle strokes. Through her sobs, Rose could hear her mother whispering to her that everything would be alright, and allowed the words to soothe her until she stopped crying. 

 

”Let's go home, sweetheart, eh? I'll make you a nice cuppa tea once we get there.” Jackie said lovingly to her daughter, hugging her close as she led her back to where Pete and Mickey were standing, waiting for them with open arms. Rose allowed both men to hug her, before they started to lead her off the beach, Mickey taking hold of her hand in an effort to comfort her. As they walked, Rose couldn't help one last glance at the spot where the Doctor's projection had stood before they turned around the corner, away from Bad Wolf Bay. Rose felt something tug at her heartstrings, but before the tears could return, she looked away and continued towards the rental car, her throbbing headache slowly abating to somewhat bearable levels.

 

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The car drive back to the hotel seemed to go on for ages for Rose, as she stared at the buildings passing by. Colorful graffiti decorated many of the walls, but Rose paid no attention to them as she did her best to keep her emotions in check, also trying to ignore the still pounding ache in her skull. It was only when Pete stopped the car at the hotel's parking lot that Rose first bothered to look more closely at the text that adorned the concrete walls around them. Directly in front of their rental vehicle was golden, swirly graffiti, beautifully painted on the concrete. As Rose stepped out of the vehicle and read what was carefully painted on it, she heard the familiar singing in her head again. The pounding headache ailing her was momentarily forgotten, despite it worsening when the song began. 

 

While last time the song had been calming, this time it was lacking the soft, quiet notes that had helped Rose steady her breathing. This time, there was an underlying emotion in the melody that she could not pinpoint underneath her own shock. The strong grip she had on the car door slackened and her arms fell to her sides. Rose stood there a moment, blinking in awe before she moved past the rental car’s door and slammed it shut a little too hard. Ignoring the annoyed and puzzled shout from Pete at the doors loud bang, she ran to the wall and pressed her hands against the text. The other three accompanying her rushed out of the car with confused stares directed towards the blonde.

 

”Rose?” Jackie asked, walking slowly towards her daughter and placing a gentle hand on her shoulder. When Rose turned around, Jackie swore that for a moment golden flecks of light had danced in her daughter's wide-open eyes. They were gone as soon as Jackie blinked, but the shock on Rose's face remained as the blonde whispered the two words that had led her back to the Doctor once before:

 

Bad Wolf.”