This once, Rose simply could not leave it. The Doctor kept flirting with her more than ever, touching and hugging her more than ever... It even looked like he-
But it was likely that was just an illusion. The kiss she has given the half-human Doctor has been an action of a momentary impulse. A chance to show him a change in her that her Doctor has refused to acknowledge, for whichever reason. You know I will sooner try to kill myself than live with someone else, Doctor.
The shock on the meta-crisis Doctor’s face was priceless, his hands falling to his sides.
Sorry! The girl eyed him apologetically. None of this was ever supposed to happen. Not like this.
The Doctor was never supposed to double himself. Her life was never supposed to become this complicated! The one she loved was never supposed to abandon her, without as much as an explanation…
Yet there she was, soon to be left all on her own again. Unless…
Rose took a deep breath, fully aware this was now or never. Her struck off idea could either work or not, but she was ready to risk everything.
The meta-crisis Doctor turned to face her at the same time the Time Lord did.
“You're such a, such a-” Coward. Before the Doctors registered that Rose has used telepathy to send them – the alien Time Lord in particular, it was clear to both of them – this one desperate word, she fainted.
Hitting her head to a sharp stone was never her intention, however.
“Looks like we're both staying," the Doctor in blue said, watching the dread in the other Doctor's eyes. Leaving them was out of the question all of a sudden. If anything, he needed to know from where his pink and yellow human has learnt to employ telepathic communication. He could always leave her with his human self afterwards, no matter what his mind and hearts kept telling him.
The meta-crisis Doctor shook his head, backing away. He was ready for the spectacle that was about to begin in front of him. As painful as it was, Rose was never his. The Time Lady Rose – even less so. He knew it as well as the Time Lord did – Torchwood only meant trouble. Having been forced to spend this much time in the more or less alien environment, particularly having one goal in mind above all must have had the side effect no-one would have thought possible. The Captain, maybe. Yes, he needed to talk to Jack at once!
“Rose,” the Doctor whispered. “I can’t leave you, not until I know you’re going to be fine!” He grabbed her hand. “Stay strong, for me! For all the people you have saved in Pete’s World, all right?”
Rose was not answering.
The half-human Doctor, looking both shocked and thoughtful after what the immortal human told him, approached the one now deeply concerned about the girl’s well-being.
“Are you sure you must leave?” He asked, shaking his head. “You acted as if I were your only choice. Try asking her opinion about that,” the Doctor in blue suggested.
“I know her opinion,” he spoke dryly. After seeing Rose giving the other him such a snog, he honestly believed he did.
“Oh? And I know yours,” the meta-crisis Doctor countered. “Leaving Rose, the one who has sacrificed so much only to find you again? The very same Rose for whom you are ready to sacrifice everything you hold dear? Trust me, Doctor, I know you,” he winked at him.
The Time Lord glared at his other self. Having conversations like these could never end well.
“Besides,” the Doctor in blue sighed meaningfully at him, “should you not take Rose back to the TARDIS? Just in case you have missed it while speaking some meaningless nonsense to her, she is hurt!”
The other Doctor eyed his meta-crisis self with open mistrust, but took Rose on board the TARDIS anyway.
The one knowing the alien like the back of his hand was not finished. “Oh! I know, you cannot allow yourself to do it, because she is my responsibility now?” His intended harshness worked out quite well.
“I was hoping she would be,” the alien sighed. “But, considering just how flawed you have turned out to be, I’d rather keep taking care of her to myself, thank you.”
Realising Rose Tyler was slowly waking up, the Time Lord freaked out and was gone out of sight just before she opened her eyes.
Having blinked the remainder of her post-traumatic weariness away, Rose smiled sadly at the Doctor, his blue suit only confirming her assumptions.
“What have I done wrong? Is this the end?”
"The Doctor's still here, Rose,” he assured the girl tenderly.
“But he doesn't care,” she was quick to stop her unwelcome tears from falling. “He wouldn’t believe me, even if I told him!”
The Doctor beside her shrugged hopelessly.
“It’s ridiculous, don’t you think? Doctor? I love him, only him, and he doesn’t care!”
“I know,” he pressed her hand encouragingly. “I know it seems like that to you, but he cares. He loves you, I know that.”
With that soothing note, the TARDIS has allowed her golden girl to fall asleep again, frustrating both of the Doctors alike.
The next time Rose woke up, everything seemed even more complicated. Her Doctor was nowhere to be seen.
“I remember things more vividly now, yeah?” Rose blinked at the Doctor supposed to be hers. “Is he still here? I- I feel confused. A Time Lady isn’t supposed to be confused, yes?”
“You have been out for days, Rose! It’s only understandable.”
She tried to consider the information. “Is the Doctor here?” Rose has only repeated her question instead. Everything else could wait.
“Do you really think he would leave you? I was hardly ever allowed to stay alone with you, Rose!”
The Doctor, her Doctor, entered the room then.
“Because she's my responsibility,” the Doctor in brown spoke emotionally.
The recognisable surroundings of her room on the ship has seemingly given Rose the necessary brashness.
“Am I your responsibility right until you leave me to him? Because it doesn't work that way!” She could not hide her frustration.
Stunned, the Gallifreyan could only muster a “How are you, Rose?” for a reply. How could he even think about leaving her?
“Is this where our story must end?” Rose jumped off the bed, now standing right in front of him. “Is this how you want it, Doctor? She was growing desperate.
“Rose. How do you- The telepathy, it can be a hard thing to master!”
I am telepathic, all right. Thanks to you.
How? The Time Lord was overtaken with vague memories of their travels to all sorts of places, but nothing in particular stood out.
Rose Tyler, the jeopardy-friendly once-human, has long learnt some things could not be avoided and were better not to be.
She took both of his hands and placed them onto her chest. “Must it end? Really?”
The other Doctor stayed quiet, almost content it took Rose herself to settle the matter. Ever since he has learnt her secret, everything seemed to be just a little bit clearer.
Rose's Doctor, on the other hand, was suddenly looking on the point of fainting himself.
“Why haven't you told me?!”
Rose was expecting for something like this. “You were looking so happy to see me, I thought...” Thought I would. Thought you’d notice.
“When did this happen?”
“Earlier. Then, when you told me you are leaving me behind, I was too-”I was hurt. My feelings, my heart- hearts, it felt like- Betrayal. Abandonment. I thought- thought it was over between us.
The Time Lord has barely managed not to pull her into a soothing embrace. Then, it hit him. “Wait, I have never told you anything about leaving!”
“Not in person, no! Not out loud.”
The understanding struck the Doctor then. “What about this other me?” His voice was small and covered in shame.
“Don’t worry about me," the half-human Doctor shrugged. "Donna Noble refuses to let go of me. Says I keep worrying her. Suppose I could do with some trips to Spain, eh?”
Rose smiled, relieved. “Does she know you are not-”
“You bet!” Donna entered the room, a wide grin on her face. “Are you ready for a trip only humans can organise?”
The meta-crisis Doctor smiled at the Doctor and Rose. “I’ll be fine,” he assured them.
“If you two are not a proper couple by the time we return, there will be consequences!” Donna warned them, before grabbing the half-human Doctor’s hand and pulling him out of the TARDIS.
The Doctor exhaled. “I wonder what she meant.”
Rose rolled her eyes at him.